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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr COPE (Watson) (3:40 AM) .- At the beginning of my speech in the. secondreading debate the Minister interjected twice before 1 had uttered about three sentences. He did not wait to hear my story. Yet this gentleman complains to-night about my interjecting when he was speaking. In other words, honorable members on the Government side like to give it, but they cannot take it.

I suppose the Minister's last speech is about the most unstable and stupid speech ever delivered in this chamber. I remind honorable members that the Chief Electoral Officer is sitting in the chamber. He heard that speech and I wager that when he goes home to-night he will have a good laugh to himself about the Minister's foolish assertion that it is not of advantage, to a candidate to have his name at the top of the ballot-paper.

Let me repeat a few of the figures quoted by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). He pointed out that in the fifteen instances in which members of the Australian Democratic Labour Party in New South Wales were at the top of the ballot-paper at the last federal election they polled an average of 9.03 per cent, of the total votes cast whereas in the other 25 cases where they were not on the top of the ballot-paper they polled an average of only 4.83 per cent, of the total votes cast. The advantage to those who were on top of the ballot-paper in that case was worth 4.2 per cent. The same position applied in connexion with the Communist Party candidates. There again the advantage enjoyed by those who were on top of the ballot-paper over those who were not was almost 4 per cent. I think every one in the chamber will agree that the most disciplined vote of all the political parties in Australia is the Communist vote. Now let me quote further figures, and after I have done so, let the Minister say again there is no advantage in being at the top of the ballot-paper!- Even the Chief Electoral Officer was laughing behind the Minister's back when he made that stupid statement.

Mr McMahon - I rise to order. I ask that those remarks be withdrawn. The honorable member has no right to refer to officers who are not members of this Parliament. This is the second time the honorable member has directed attention to the presence of an officer. It is definitely ill-mannered and out of place.

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