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Tuesday, 19 November 1974
Page: 2544

Senator POYSER (Victoria) - I want to support Senator McLaren in what he said because I was one of those terrible senators who came into this place in shorts.

Senator Webster - And you have not worn them since.

Senator POYSER - Of course I have not worn them since because of the ultra-conservatism of people like Senator Webster. He would like to see all of us come into this place dressed in a way which he believes is dignified- morning suits with striped pants, block hat, and black shoes. He is in effect saying that this is not the House of the people; that it is his House; that he, as Chairman of Committees, should decide how people should be dressed in this House. I remind Senator Webster that this chamber is a House of the people, not of the persons who are elected to it. I think he should understand that because in his time he has been through a few elections. He has had his successess because like other people, including myself, he has been able to get high enough on the Party ticket to be elected. But this House is the people 's House.

If Senator Webster takes this matter to its ultimate conclusion, he will look around the galleries and he will decide that tourists who come here in shorts and open-neck shirts are not to be permitted into the galleries, and he will be following exactly the policy that is followed in many State parliaments where no person is allowed into those buildings unless they are 'properly dressed' in accordance with what Senator Webster and conservatives like him may decide. Properly dressed ' means a navy-blue suit, black shoes and black socks. I am sorry that Senator Coleman still has not got the tie on. She looked lovely. I am wondering what Senator Webster will say when one of our lovely lady senators comes into the chamber dressed in a mini-skirt. No doubt he will gaze on that with rapture and say: 'This is too good for the rest of the people. We must ban this from this House. But I will observe what is going on'. How ridiculous is the situation that Senator Webster should sit in judgment on an officer of this Parliament coming into this chamber dressed in a pair of blue jeans.

Senator Sir Magnus Cormack - He is not an officer of this Parliament.

Senator POYSER - He was an adviser to a Minister of this Parliament. I look around this chamber and I see Senator Sir Magnus Cormack dressed in a sky-blue suit. Shame on Senator Sir Magnus Cormack coming into this chamber dressed in a sky-blue suit. It is terrible to think that he has come into this chamber dressed in such a light-coloured suit and has destroyed the dignity of the Senate. If the pants were 2 shades darker they would be blue jeans. Then Senator Webster would say to Senator Sir Magnus Cormack: 'You have jeans on; you are not allowed in this place'. It is so ridiculous that it is laughable. As Senator McLaren said, this man came into the chamber dressed in a polo-neck shirt or jumper. This is the high standard that is maintained at balls at the Melbourne Club these days. No doubt Senator Webster has not been invited to any of them. Probably he has never been able to pay his membership fees, and this is the reason why no invitations have been issued to him.

Senator Webster - Do you get there, George?

Senator POYSER - No. I could not even pay the deposit. I could not pay it off on time payment. These days a shirt with a rolled neck is the height of fashion. But Senator Webster says that because one of the advisers wore a rolled neck shirt, did not have a tie on and wore what he termed as jeans, he had no right to be sitting in this chamber advising a Minister. I think it is the height of impudence for a man- even a Chairman of Committees- to take unto himself the right of deciding who is to enter the people's House of Parliament. I remind him again that this is the people 's House. It is not his House and it is not my House; it is the House of the people. If people cannot enter this chamber dressed in a reasonable manner, the day will come when they will not be able to enter it at all. I am horrified to think that the conservatism of Senator Webster can destroy the right of people to come into this chamber. I think he had a horrible dream that night. He had to say something to make headlines for himself. He did not get them, and he has been angry about it ever since. No doubt he will try to do the same thing in the future.

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