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Wednesday, 23 March 1966


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Dawson will be allowed to make his speech in silence. There are too many interjections altogether.


Mr Nixon - Speaking to the point of order raised by the honorable member for Yarra, I should like -to say that we are trying to get the honorable member for Dawson to stick to the facts.


Dr PATTERSON - If there is one thing I do, it is stick to the facts. If the honorable member who has interjected knew more about the facts he would be one of the first people to be backing us up to the hilt on water conservation instead of publicly getting up here and decrying it. Obviously he is in an electorate which is safe, but it may not be safe when the electors read what he has said.


Mr Nixon - I rise to a point of order. I ask for that remark to be withdrawn. I find it personally offensive.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Dawson will withdraw the remark. The honorable member for Gippsland finds it offensive.


Dr PATTERSON - What was the remark, Mr. Deputy Speaker?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The reference about the honorable member for Gippsland. The honorable member will withdraw the reference which the honorable member for Gippsland considers to be offensive.


Mr Calwell - Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I might intervene: The .honorable member for Gippsland objects to the honorable member for Dawson saying that he is safe in his electorate but that he might not be safe when the electors read what has been said. It is that remark to which he objects. What is offensive about that?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The Chair has ruled that there was a reflection on the honorable member for Gippsland. I ask the honorable member to withdraw.


Dr PATTERSON - I do not know what the words were which offended the honorable member. I think at least that I should know what the words were.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member for Dawson, on resuming his speech, made some minor reflection on the honorable member for Gippsland, and I ask him to withdraw it.


Mr Beaton - I rise to a point of order. Would it not be correct for the honorable member for Gippsland to state exactly what the reference was to which he is objecting before you give a ruling that the honorable member for Dawson should withdraw?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The Chair has given a ruling. I ask the honorable member to withdraw the remark which was personally offensive to the honorable member for Gippsland, and to resume his speech.


Dr PATTERSON - Surely I cannot be asked to withdraw something when I do not know what words were offensive to the honorable member?


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! Obviously the honorable member for Dawson has forgotten what he said. I ask him to withdraw and to resume his speech.


Mr Calwell - I suggest that the honorable member for Dawson should say that he will withdraw something which he does not remember.


Dr PATTERSON - I withdraw whatever I am supposed to have said which has offended the honorable member. [Extension of time granted.]

All I wish to say in conclusion is that I believe that the Government should look at this matter in all seriousness. I think that to a degree it has looked seriously at many of these problems but I feel it is getting too bogged down with the advice it has been given about problems on water conservation which are not fully understood in terms of long term planning. If the Government could only make an analysis of what have been the losses in droughts in recent years - particularly the major droughts of 1944 to 1946, 1951-1952, 1965 and the present drought - I think it would realise that in many areas there is a very strong case for the immediate construction of major water storage facilities, particularly in those areas which have proven to be vulnerable to drought. I refer particularly to areas such as northern New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. If we could only get a positive approach to water conservation and development, coupled with a realistic approach to fodder conservation, a plan of action could be evolved which would be one of the greatest counters to drought that this country has ever seen.







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