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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2269

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) -I rise to clear the obvious smokescreen which has been raised by honourable senators in the Government side to cover up the real point of criticism which is being made. I am concerned with the report of Estimates Committee B which is relevant to the estimates which we are considering. In the course of his justification of a very clear criticism by this Committee ofthe conduct ofthe Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Willesee), Senator Wriedt said -

Senator Poyser - I rise on a point of order. This is obviously tedious repetition because this is the fourth occasion on which Senator Greenwood has raised this point. I often wondered why this brilliant young lawyer became a senator. I found out that he was paid by the word, and nobody could afford to employ him any more.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator WebsterSenator Greenwood is quite in order.

Senator GREENWOOD -That last pseudo point of order, as I would call it, is typical of the abuse in which Labor senators are well practised, but it does not serve to obscure the point which must be made. In his defence of the Committee 's criticism Senator Wriedt indicated to this side of the chamber that the future of estimates committees was in doubt. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, in words which commanded the attention of everyone in this chamber, pointed out that no temporary servant of government determines whether the Parliament will grant the moneys which are necessary for the carrying out of the Government's affairs. Parliament itself does that. It is not for Senator Wriedt nor for any other member of this Government with their general intimidatory tactics to prevent members of the Senate from having information supplied to them as to the purposes for which the Government is seeking money. Senator Baume rose to support Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, and he indicated his experience in another committee. Because he had the temerity to say that he found it difficult to raise his voice in another committee he was immediately subjected to attack and abuse by senators on the Government side. Senator Baume will have the defence of this side of the chamber because that sort of approach by Government senators is nothing more than intimidation and an endeavour in the form of an abusive reply to prevent a person from having the say to which is entitled in this chamber.

Senator Poyser - Mr Chairman,you ruled a few minutes ago that future speakers in this debate should relate their remarks to the proposed expenditure of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Obviously Senator Greenwood is doing what many other senators have done in the past, but in view of your plea a few moments ago I would request that you bring him back to the estimates before the Committee of the Whole. I will continue to raise this point irrespective of which side of the chamber the speaker is from.

The CHAIRMAN -I take note of your point of order, Senator Poyser, and I have no doubt that you would not have spoken if I had applied my ruling correctly previously.

Senator GREENWOOD - I am again interested in Senator Poyser because we are becoming accustomed to his tactics in this chamber. He clowns, laughs and interjects whenever an Opposition senator is speaking. When a few pertinent points are made he makes some facile, pseudo point of order and hopes that he will be listened to. On one occasion he has disobeyed the Standing Orders. On the next occasion he is trying to rely upon them. I have ascertained since the discussion in the Committee as a Whole this afternoon that during the examination of the proposed expenditure of the Department of Foreign Affairs the Minister for Foreign Affairs was nonchalant, disinterested and could not care less about questions being asked by senators from this side of the chamber. As we have seen in this chamber, that is typical of his attitude. Therefore, it is fair that a committee which is representative of both sides of the chamber should take him to task for the way in which he responded to Estimates committee questioning. It is high time that point was nailed on the Government and on this Minister.

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