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Friday, 19 November 1965


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition can ask for leave of the House only, not for leave from the Chair.


Mr Whitlam - I think in this matter I can ask for leave from you, Sir, because I have not spoken in this debate and I am not proposing to speak in it. Accordingly, I have no right to make a comment, but I believe that I am entitled to make a statement if I have the leave of the Chair.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member may seek to make a personal explanation.


Mr Whitlam - Thank you, Sir. There is no significance in the fact that I am not speaking on the Bill for which I secured the adjournment of the second reading debate. It is not unusual for a member of the front bench of the Opposition to secure the adjournment of a debate in which subsequently he is not the initial speaker or speaking at all. The Standing Orders of the House provide that, on any bill, the first speaker on the Opposition side is determined by the Leader of the Opposition. On this occasion, the Leader of the Opposition has taken the Bill. I think it is proper that he should. From the point of view of my own personal position, there are bills - one later today and another late next week - in which, as the AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Snedden) knows, I shall be the only speaker in the first instance and the first speaker in the second instance. As the Attorney-General knows, and I thank him for conferences he has given me and my colleagues on both subjects, these are quite technical bills and they are occupying a great deal of my time. There is no need for me to support the Opposition's case in this debate. It is being put by more people than are putting the Government's case.







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