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Wednesday, 30 March 1966


Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) . - I want to bring to your notice an outrage, Mr. Speaker. As honorable members know, I am rather fond of reading poetry, and during the recess for dinner I went to the Library, as I am accustomed to do, and I opened up my copy of Keats at the " Ode on a Grecian Urn". Interleaved in the book I found this -

Ode on a Canberra Mug.

Thou unacknowledged man of destiny,

Thou foster-child of Caucus and the Left, Pat politician, who can thus deny Facts, with sincerity and slickness deft - What red-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of Conference or Executive or both, By Trades Hall or the dales of Liverpool? What ramps or votes are these? What members loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What lies and libels? Whom do you hope to fool?

It goes further, Mr. Speaker -

Heard melodies are sweet, but overheard Are sweeter; therefore, Party Room, play on: To Daily Press and T.V. more endeared, Just keep on piping ditties of no tone. Poor boy, in Parliament thou canst not leave Thy spiel, although thou speak to benches bare; Near-leader, ever, ever must thou miss Though winning near the goal - yet do not grieve, He will not go, though thou hast not thy bliss. Forever wilt thou stab, and he be there.

Most of this wonderful ode, Mr. Speaker, followed the scansion of the original Keats, but at the bottom I found this appalling couplet - " Numbers are strength, strength numbers " - that is all

That Labour knows, and all it needs to know.

I think you will agree, Sir, that I was right in removing this offending leaf from that beautiful book. One of the very puzzling things about it is that although it is obviously not the kind of thing that should be in the Library I cannot tell to whom it applies. Perhaps there will be members in the House who can enlighten me on this. But I think you will agree, Sir, that I was right to bring this outrage before the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.







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