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Thursday, 14 May 1970

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance to the point of order.

Mr WHITLAM - I was pointing out why the procedure was adopted of leaving the Minister for the Navy only 19 minutes - the period remaining for this debate - in which to make his 20 minute speech. It was to avoid the Government declaring its attitude on negotiations with the British Government to station 2 aircraft carriers in Cockburn Sound. The Government would not support this proposition. The time for debate had to be spun out so that no vote could be taken. A vote on this issue would have shown that the whole Ministry, not only a destroyer like the Minister for the Navy but a battleship like the Minister for Defence - indeed the whole Cabinet - and a superannuated tug like the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) would all-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I ask the Leader of the Opposition to stick to the point.

Mr WHITLAM - The whole Ministry would have voted against this proposition, leaving the honourable members for Chisholm, Cook (Mr Dobie), Curtin (Mr Garland), Canning (Mr Hallett), La Trobe (Mr Jess), and North Sydney (Mr Graham) alone in favour of the proposition. The Opposition will co-operate in taking a vote on this matter. It is known by all honourable members that the Government would be gravely embarrassed if this motion were carried. Every device has been adopted to avoid a vote on this motion. Accordingly I am facilitating an opportunity for the honourable member for Evans (Dr Mackay), who is trying to interject, the ex-naval man - he is ex so many other occupations; he has been everything by starts and nothing long - to declare his attitude on this matter. Does he think negotiations should be undertaken with the British Government to station 2 aircraft carriers in Cockburn Sound or not? The Minister for the Navy did not state his attitude. Every other Minister was out of the House. This procedure has been adopted to avoid a debate on a matter which would expose yet another division within the Liberal Party.

Mr Snedden - Mr Deputy Speaker, a point of order needs to be taken at this stage. The Leader of the Opposition has moved a motion for the suspension of Standing Orders. He is taking the opportunity to do 3 things. Firstly he proposes to talk until 1 o'clock so that-

Mr Whitlam - No, I have finished speaking.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! As the Leader of the Opposition has finished speaking 1 want to know whether there is seconder to the motion.


Mr Whitlam - And you will not speak to it either?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No. I second the motion. [ do not wish to speak.

Mr Snedden - The motion for the suspension of Standing Orders will be opposed by honourable members on this side of the House, ft will be opposed because there was the expectation-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The question before the Chair is that the motion be agreed to. All of that opinion say 'Aye'.

Opposition members - Aye.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - To the contrary. 'No'.

Government members - No.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I think the noes have it. Is a division required?

Opposition members - Divide!

Mr Snedden - Mr Deputy Speaker, under the Standing Orders I am entitled to be called to speak to the substantive motion. You have no right to put the question.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The Minister could not speak before I stated the motion. The question has now been proposed.

Mr Snedden - I rise for the call, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I call the Minister.

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