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Thursday, 8 March 1973
Page: 449


Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Services and Property) - I rise just to say a few words to the honourable member for Wimmera (Mr King) in relation to his query concerning questions in this House. The present practice, as honourable members know, is not new. It is a relic of that dim and dark 23 years of Liberal Party-Country Party Government. We on this side of the House sat until recently on the other side. When we were the Opposition we were not only denied the right to ask questions more than once every 3 weeks but also, when we did receive a reply, we w:re given mostly stupid answers. Honourable members on the other side are a very fortunate Opposition. They not only get the opportunity to ask questions but also they get magnificently intelligent and informative answers. Rarely has an opposition been able to ask such talented Ministers questions from time to time. So the honourable member ought to count his blessings and think how fortunate he is.

But members of the Opposition have their own problems on this matter. They have 2 deputy leaders and 2 general leaders. They have a couple of deputy deputy leaders. If they could sort themselves out and they did not jump so often they would all be able to ask twice as many questions. How can members of the Opposition expect the Government to answer questions on primary industry? The Opposition has 2 spokesmen on primary industry. I suppose that to be fair we would have to let both spokesmen ask the same question each and every day. Then we would see a stand-up fight because the answer to the Liberal question would not coincide with Country Party policy. So we can see what a mess the Opposition would put us in on this side of the Parliament in trying to answer the honourable member. I suggest though that honourable gentlemen opposite should use the notice paper extensively. All private members have this opportunity. The honourable member for Wimmera could benefit from a lot more knowledge and information. 1 know this from his speeches. He could improve considerably by using the notice paper much more.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Deputy Leader of the Opposition uses it.


Mr DALY - Yes, the deputy deputy uses it. Ho will tell us that himself. And he is getting really brief and to the point answers. All honourable members can do the same. We on this side of the Parliament do not want to suppress information. We would be delighted if every member opposite could ask question after question because we know that we would be in government still longer provided we were given the opportunity to supply answers to those questions. Opposition supporters seem to think that we on this side of the

House are responsible for ail the ills of this country. 1 wonder how many honourable members opposite have read the results of the last elections. One would think that they do not know what side of the House they arc sitting on. They are blaming us because of a shortage of telephones in country districts.

The Opposition was in office for 24 years and its supporters now tell us that within 24 days or so of coming to office the Labor Party is responsible for all these sorts of things. It is the old story - when in opposition they are roaring lions but when in government they are worn out old tom cats. It is as simple as that. Most of those members of the Country Party who sat on this side of the House before the last election were as quiet as rabbits suffering from myxomatosis. But today in their new pasture in the Parliament they are a vibrant fighting force and when they think they have the time to stop saying what they think of the Liberals they think about attacking us because of a shortage of telephones or insufficient time to ask a question of two. For instance, let us take the wheat growers. A member of the Country Party has tonight complained about their situation. Honourable members opposite were in office for 24 years and they left the country and the wheat growers in the biggest mess in the history of this country. The other day the Labor Party gave to the wheat growers an advance that excelled anything that the Country Party ever thought of in its time on this side of the House. This Government is to undertake an inquiry into long term low interest rates for farmers and we will certainly see that they get their returns. On top of that they know that on this side of the Parliament they are represented by real country men like the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) and the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson).

The people in the country districts know that they now have in this Parliament spokesmen who will speak on their behalf. If honourable members opposite do not think I am right they should read the results of the last elections. Another record majority was achieved by the honourable member for Dawson. Everybody knows that it was not until Labor came to office in the war years that primary producers received any return for their labour. We gave them guaranteed markets, we stabilised prices and we put the farmers on top of the world. Instead of owing money to the banks the banks were borrowing from the farmers. Honourable members opposite are now telling us what they did for the farmers. One would think that they were not reponsible for the things that went wrong, but make no mistake about it, the full responsibility for a shortage of telephones, shortcomings in conditions for farmers and in primary industry, and everything else that has gone wrong in this country, rests with honourable members opposite. They are the guilty men because they were in office for so long. I am interested to note that after 24 years in the lush pasture on this side of the House they have to be at least a little vocal in order to let the people know that they exist in the Parliament.


Mr Giles - Sit down.


Mr DALY - Now I can see the wine growers friend. One night in this House the honourable member moved a resolution to support the wine growers but ended up voting against his motion. You would not read about it.


Dr Patterson - He voted to gag himself.


Mr DALY - He voted to gag himself. I recall one honourable member moving that the question be put and the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles), who was on his feet, sat down. He, in effect, gagged himself. So if he would not listen to himself why should we put up with him? It is fascinating to look from this side of the House at honourable members opposite. They look so much better on that side. They look so comfortable. I know they are settling in because it will be a long long time before there is a change. I also know that the members of the Country Party cannot wait until next Tuesday. They are dying to hear a speech of mine, I can see the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) and the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter). They have the light of battle in their eves because their citadel may be assailed on Tuesday. Their quiet friends in this House are looking at them sympathetically but when they are in the Liberal Party room they are laughing their heads off.

On a serious note, I place on record tonight the fact that this Government in 24 days has uplifted the dignity of this Parliament. Whoever heard during the last 24 years of an adjournment debate taking place at 10.25 p.m.? We generally started such a debate at about 11.25 p.m. If honourable members are unable to ask questions because of lack of time they at least have the opportunity to express themselves during the adjournment debate, so be thankful for the opportunity. Be thankful for what the Labor Party is bringing to this Parliament - democracy, free speech and the right to say your piece and to put your point of view. I am sorry to have taken up so much time but I thought, Mr Speaker, that the reference to questions was somewhat of a reflection on the way in which you were running this House. Therefore I desired to put the record straight and to inform Opposition supporters that if they are not sure on which side they are sitting they ought to read the results of the last elections. As far as primary production, the running of this Parliament and the welfare of this country are concerned, they are in good hands. We will endeavour to remedy in the many years ahead of us the ills and shortcomings that were caused by the administration of the last Government. I am hopeful that we will be able to do that with a minimum of inconvenience to the public and with great benefit to the nation.







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