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Thursday, 11 November 1976

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Smith) -This day, 1 1 November 1976, is indeed an auspicious occasion because it marks the anniversary of the sacking of the Whitlam Government. We on this side of the chamber would have appreciated a debate as a matter of urgency on the question raised by the honourable member for Moore (Mr Hyde). There are many divisions in the Australian nation, this day, and they directly relate to the events of 1 1 November last. Let me make it very clear that from the point of view of democracy the Whitlam Government was denied its democratic right to remain in office for 3 years. It is because of this that right now meetings are being held throughout Australia. The citizens for democracy are meeting in their thousands this day in all capital cities. In Sydney this afternoon they will be discussing what happened on 1 1 November last and how is it that in a democracy a government could be so denied the opportunity to govern by one man? Let us talk about the corruption which has been alleged and ask where is the evidence of it. Not one piece of evidence has been produced. We have had the likes of Bjelke-Petersen, the Premier of Queensland, dabbling in money and sending it overseas to people in an effort to dredge up evidence against members of this Parliament. Every rotten action taken against the Whitlam Government has been motivated by money given to the present Government.

Let us look at the law on this subject. The actions of 1 1 November last were without any legal precedent at all. The fact is that a precedent was set when 2 Ministers of the Whitlam Government were told by the Governor-General something which was altogether different from what his actions were. Honourable members opposite should talk about deceit and apply it to what those 2 Ministers were advised. I will name those Ministers. They are Senator James McClelland and Paul Keating, both of whom had discussions sourced from the GovernorGeneral's residence which clearly indicated that he proposed to take the course of action which the Labor Government had advised.

Recently, the present Chief Justice admitted that as far back as October last year, a month before the Governor-General acted, he had formed an opinion that the Whitlam Government should go. A man with the status of Chief Justice certainly can mould the opinions of others. That is admitted in the letter of dismissal by the Governor-General to Mr Whitlam which shows that the opinion of the Chief Justice had been intruded into the Governor-General's decision.

Let us take the matter further. The opinion of the Chief Justice was not accepted by the Governor-General on that point. The selfcentred advice volunteered by the Chief Justice was that the Governor-General should take the advice of Mr Fraser. Of course, the GovernorGeneral did not take the advice of Mr Fraser; he dictated to Mr Fraser what he, the GovernorGeneral, wanted. That was a guarantee of Supply in the Senate on condition that there would be a double dissolution. The fictitous legal theory has prevailed that the election on 13 December in this country was fought on the question of Supply. It was not. If we could have fought an election on the question of supply, the result would have been different. If we could have said to the people -

Government supporters interjecting.

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