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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1317


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Moreton must seek leave to move a motion; otherwise he will have to give notice of the motion.


Mr KILLEN - I seek leave to move a motion for the suspension of Standing Orders.


Mr SPEAKER - Is leave granted?


Mr Daly - No.


Mr SPEAKER - Leave is not granted.


Mr KILLEN - I move:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Moreton moving a motion for the appointment of a select committee of this House to inquire into the circumstances whereby the honourable member for Blaxland came into possession of documents which purport to relate to the administration of the previous Government.

In a debate in this House last evening the honourable member for Blaxland (Mr Keating) read from documents -


Mr SPEAKER - I ask the honourable gentleman to be good enough to put in writing the motion to suspend Standing Orders and deliver it to the Clerk at the table.


Mr KILLEN - This is a matter of urgency and of very considerable gravity. It goes to the whole foundation of parliamentary government. That is not to gild the lilly in any shape of form. If confidences are to be breached by successive governments then the whole fabric of government will be wrenched asunder. Cabinet government works upon one basic principle, that is, complete frankness, honesty and confidence are observed between and among all Ministers. Ministers may put forward proposals relating to the administration of their departments when they find upon listening to further argument, when they find upon further scrutiny and examination that the argument they once possessed as being the proper remedy for a particular problem was not in fact the remedy at all. Upon that basis documents are circulated between and among Ministers. Last evening the honourable member for Blaxland read from documents which-


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I ask the honourable member to deal with the specific reason why the Standing Orders should be suspended and not to debate the substance of the motion.


Mr KILLEN - Precisely. I will not transgress your ruling, Mr Speaker. I am identifying the problem and the urgency which attends the problem is to be found upon 2 bases. Firstly, the honourable member for

Blaxland as a member of this Parliament must find himself under some cloud of suspicion simply because he has divulged what purported to be documents relating to the administration of a former government.


Mr Keating - What do you want to hide?


Mr KILLEN -It is not a case of wanting to hide anything at all. The principle involved here is how the honourable member came to be in possession of these documents. The second basis upon which urgency attends this matter is the attitude taken by the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) who has sought to dismiss this grave matter by using the highly unfelicitous term 'humbug'. The Minister himself as the person responsible for the administration of a great department of State is the person who must ultimately answer to this Parliament and to the people for every aspect of that administration and the Minister himself stands under a cloud of suspicion, although I am bound to observe in passing that it would need to be a very large cloud.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I have already asked the honourable member to confine his remarks to the reason why the Standing Orders should be suspended and not to deal with the substance of the motion.


Mr KILLEN - I am not dealing with the substance. I am dealing with the urgency of the matter where the integrity of 2 members of this Parliament - one of them a Minister administering a great department of State - is under challenge and that is a situation that no self-respecting legislature should tolerate for one moment. They are the bases of the urgency and I would hope that the Minister in charge of the House will respond. The integrity of 2 members - one a Minister - is under challenge and the whole foundation of parliamentary government is being put at risk by what occurred last night and which was entrenched this morning by the attitude of the Minister for Minerals and Energy. I appeal to the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), who on a previous occasion has said that only in exceptional circumstances would there be any release. There is the urgency. I would expect a mature and responsible reaction from the Government.


Mr SPEAKER - Order! Is the motion seconded?







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