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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2665


Senator McLAREN (South Australia) - I did not intend to rise on this first reading of the Honey Export Charges Bill but I do so as a result of several remarks made by the previous speaker, Senator Marriott. I can see that as a result of what Senator Gietzelt contributed to this debate he certainly got under the skin of the Opposition, particularly the skin of Senator Marriott, who seems to be emotionally upset not only by what Senator Gietzelt said but also by what has been said in the daily Press. I am surprised that a man who claims to be a mature senator could get so upset by what was said here today. I want to correct one of his statements. He referred to Senator Gietzelt 's reference in his speech to 'a combined Opposition'. Senator Marriott has pointed out that it is not a combined Opposition- that the 3 Opposition Parties meet as 3 separate identities. I want to quote from an article which appeared in the 'Murray Pioneer', a newspaper printed at Renmark, which in its issue on 1 8 October referred to a statement made by Senator Laucke when he addressed a meeting in Renmark. The article states:

Addressing the meeting, Senator Laucke spoke of his delight at the present high level of co-operation between the Liberal and Country Parties at Federal level.

He illustrated this by pointing to the recently developed system of joint Party meetings in Canberra.

Yet we have heard Senator Marriott say that they work as separate identities. One can walk around the corridors of this Parliament House every week and see notices hanging on the meeting rooms proclaiming 'Joint Meeting'. Who is correct: Senator Laucke or Senator Marriott? Then, of course, we had the Press statements of Mr Snedden at the week-end accusing Mr Anthony of running around the country like a blue-tailed fly. So where is the Opposition cooperation there? On the one hand, it has cooperation, on the other division.

The only other thing I want to refer to is the comment made by Senator Marriott about how wonderfully the Opposition has worked on the estimates committees. I have pointed out here, and I have had figures incorporated in Hansard to show, that the Opposition did not co-operate on the estimates committees this session. The committees devoted 20 hours more this year to their work than the next highest figure for any year since the estimates committees have been in operation. As one who sat in on several of these estimates committees meetings I know that 2 senators in particular went over and over particular subjects day after day, night after night and, quite apart from trying to examine money matters, were trying to delve into other subjects in order to ridicule people in the Government. For Senator Marriott to stand up and say that the Opposition has co-operated better on the estimates committees than did the Government when it was in Opposition is complete rubbish.







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