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Thursday, 2 December 1965


Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- I would like to ask a question of the AttorneyGeneral about some things that have been said. Perhaps his answers can throw some light on the debate. I have listened very carefully to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). He has made several statements regarding Sir Garfield Barwick. In fact Sir Garfield Barwick and his efforts in this field have been the main basis of the arguments put forward by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. When Sir Garfield Barwick was in this place, in the eyes of the Labour Party he could do no right. The Labour Party continually criticised him. But, having left this place, he has the great praise of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and all the other Labour men. An amazing change has come over them. Somebody has said: " If I should die how kind you all would grow". Now that Sir Garfield Barwick has gone from here, how kind the Labour Party is to him. To them he is now a wonderful man, but when he was here they tried to write him down as much as possible.


Mr Whitlam - We never opposed any of these proposals.


Mr TURNBULL - They endeavoured to write him down as much as possible. That is the statement I made, and it stands. Now the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is trying to use Sir Garfield in an attempt to write down the present AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Snedden). These are the tactics that honorable gentlemen opposite adopt, and that fact should be known. I want the Attorney-General to clarify certain points. If anybody knows these things, he knows them, because he was in very close association with Sir Garfield. I should like to know whether the statements made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition are true or false. He used these words: " Sir Garfield Barwick pro.mised". Then later he changed and said: " Sir Garfield Barwick proposed ". Then he changed again and said: "Sir Garfield

Barwick proposed to include ". All these statements cannot be right.

I was a member of this place all the time that Sir Garfield Barwick was here. I do not think he promised anything as stated by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He put forward certain suggestions which were to stand for a long time so people could look into them and ascertain if they were practicable. Then, representations that had been made to him, and later to the present Attorney-General, were considered. I was very pleased to hear the AttorneyGeneral say tonight that he was of the opinion - I am largely of the same opinion - that if Sir Garfield Barwick had still been a member of this place he would have adopted the attitude that the present Attorney-General and the Government have adopted, as reflected in the amendments and the Bill that are now before us. I rose specifically to ask whether Sir Garfield Barwick promised these things, as has been stated by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.


Mr Whitlam - I said he proposed them.


Mr TURNBULL - The honorable member said that he promised them.


Mr Whitlam - I said that the Prime Minister promised them in his policy speech.


Mr TURNBULL - The honorable member said that Sir Garfield Barwick promised them, and " Hansard " will bear me out. The statement that the honorable member has just made is about as true as his statement a little while ago that no member of the Australian Country Party has spoken in this debate. A week or two ago we got into holts over this very same thing - about a mis-statement. It is time that these mis-statements were taken up, because people accept them as being true. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has the style of coming into this Chamber and making what I regard as being great misstatements. I think they should be corrected.

The subject matter of this Bill, of course, is one for the lawyers. I do not pretend to be able to take part expertly in a debate on the law, but I am able to take part in what I regard as being the basis of this Bill, that is, common decency. Therefore, I ask the Attorney-General:

Did Sir Garfield Barwick promise these things, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has stated? The honorable member has tried to get out of this, but he cannot. We have the " Hansard " record of what he said, and I wrote down at the time what he said. I next ask the AttorneyGeneral: Did Sir Garfield Barwick propose these things? He did really propose them so they could be investigated and so that representations could be made. Did he propose to include them in the Bill? I should imagine that he proposed to include them in the Bill if representations that were made to him did not make him change his mind. I have often said in this place that being consistent does not consist in keeping to one opinion but in being willing to change one's mind if there is good reason to do so. As a result of all sorts of representations that were made, Sir Garfield Barwick may well have had sound reason to change his mind, as the Attorney-General has said. The main question I ask is this: Did Sir Garfield Barwick promise these things, as has been stated by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition?







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