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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4409

Mr GARLAND (Curtin) (Minister for Supply) - I think that the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) made the most powerful point that emerged in this debate when he pointed out that this method of attempting to formulate policy by the Labor Party

Opposition is really no policy whatsoever. He pointed out that there were some 22 attempts by the Opposition to set up select committees or the like in order to examine certain aspects of government. It has been, . I think, very plain in the last year or two that the Opposition cannot devise policy with any precision and has to resort to this technique in coming in .here and speaking very superficially and loosely about difficult matters such as social questions, political questions and economic questions and speaking very superficially also upon the motion that a committee ought to be set up. I submit that that is no substitute for policy but only a trick or a device that is used by the Opposition. Obviously honourable members opposite regard it as a good device but it is only a device used to cover up a lack of policy. I suggest that it Would be more appropriate for a Party which holds itself out to be the alternative government of this country to sit down and do the hard work itself, devise a policy with some precision and bring it into this place, have it debated and not simply run away and suggest that a committee ought to be set up.

I will speak further on this matter because I think it is an important one and it is time that it was examined. The honourable member opposite who is looking at me now is a great advocate in this place for the setting up of numbers of committees. I think we have to face fairly and squarely the fact that there is a limit to the number of committees that can be set up. There is a limit to the time which honourable members can spend on committees. They have many other functions and I do not have to tell honourable members that. They have their electoral problems, they have to participate in the debates of this House and they have to write their speeches. Presumably they have to discuss policy - at least we on this side do -

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