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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2179

Mr LYNCH - As the honourable member interjected, democracy is under attack. It is unprecedented that so many major policy measures should be introduced so hastily in so short a period of time in the final days of this session. I remind the honourable gentleman who is attempting to interject that if he casts his mind back not to the 25 or 30-year period that the Leader of the House so often wants to refer to but to the last calendar year he will note that the former Government did not move one guillotine during that period. Never in the recollection of honourable members on this side of the House has there been a period during which so many major policy measures have been sought to be introduced during the closing stages of the parliamentary session. The Government's move to apply the guillotine comes against the background of gag motions, previously applied guillotine techniques, the failure of this Government to allow adequate time for substantial measures to be canvassed adequately, the evasion of ministers during question time and the practice of ministers taking opportunities to make important statements on policy outside the House where they cannot be questioned nor held to account.

The Opposition is quite prepared to give the Government ample opportunity co extend the sittings of the House for as long as is required to process this legislation. But we will not approve of the precipitous haste which the Government is now adopting ruthlessly to force these Bills through the House. It is described by the honourable members on this side of the House as a jack boot approach; an approach we have become all too familiar with during the first sessional period under a Labor Government. We can well imagine why the Government is determined to force these Bills through at the earliest opportunity and so deliberately to curtail the sittings of this House. The reason is sim- ply that the first 150 days of the new Labor administration has been a period in which the experience is souring, and souring very badly. This Government recognises that today it is under major attack from significant sections of the Australian community. There is developing very rapidly a sense of increasing concern and apprehension as to the directions which the Government is taking in so many fundamental areas. They include the Government's incapacity in terms of inflation, the degree to which it has destroyed goodwill with the United States of America built up over a quarter of a century, the fact that in terms of inflation it has offered no effective remedy to what is Australia's major economic problem, the problems it is having with the Labor States in terms of off-shore legislation, the degree to which it is seeking a centralised socialist approach with, of course, murmurings of nationalisation in regard to a number of major industries.

I do not intend to take up the full time available to me simply because of the threat by the Government to curtail further the time which is currently available under the guillotine motion. In summary, I say thai this motion is strongly and vigorously opposed by the Opposition parties. We believe it is consistent with a concept of closed government and with the manner in which the Government has made the proceedings of this House - question periods and major debates - a farce. It is a mockery of the forms of this House and of the parliamentary institution. For these reasons I shall move an amendment in relation to the next item on the daily program.

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