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Tuesday, 7 December 1965

Dr MACKAY (Evans) .- I draw attention to some words that were spoken by the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) when he was doing something that has been done far too often in the course of this debate - uttering words which bore upon parliamentary privilege if they did not attack the parliamentary institution itself, and which certainly represented intimidation of honorable members on this side of the chamber in the discharge of their clear duty in participating in decisions of this Committee. He said something like this: " All that we have had from the other side of the chamber is a deliberate attempt to stop this Bill being passed before Christmas ".

Mr Calwell - Hear, hear!

Dr MACKAY - Now I hear honorable members opposite saying " Hear, hear!" That statement is far from the truth. A large number of honorable members on this side of the chamber agree with the principles of this Bill, have been looking forward to its introduction, welcome many of its provisions, but want to see changes made in various details and points with which they are not happy. That is true of me. As honorable members are aware, on one occasion I voted against the Government, and then the next day an amendment on the point concerned was agreed to. I did not take that action because I was trying to delay the passage of the Bill. 1 took it because I have a very keen and burning desire, as have the other members on this side of the chamber, to do my level best to see that when this measure is finally placed on the statute book it will be in keeping with our concept of justice and fair play.

I do not think it helps the cause at all for hypocritical rejoinders and political gibes to be thrown at honorable members on this side of the chamber, such as that there is no discipline in the Liberal Party and that we should predetermine these issues in our party room.

Mr Calwell - Hear, hear!

Dr MACKAY - That is an attack on the the concept of the Parliament itself. Now " Hear, hear! " comes from the Leader of the Opposition. I believe that such statements are appalling when we consider that we are here to determine the issues that come before us and to act as responsible representatives of the people. Yet we are told that we ought to make our decisions in toto behind closed doors and then come into this chamber and act as rubber stamps or help to steam roller things through the Parliament without any intelligent debate.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! I suggest that the honorable member for Evans has made his point sufficiently and is now developing a general argument on a matter which has no relation to the matter before the Committee.

Dr MACKAY - If I have made the point sufficiently, I am more than happy.

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