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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4450

Mr BRYANT (Wills) - 1 second the motion to suspend the Standing Orders. I do so for this reason. The House is about to go into recess for 7 or 8 weeks. We have mct for, 1 think, 150 days in the last 780 days. There have been continuous misuses of the majority control of this Parliament by the Ministry on every significant issue over the last few months, and one of the significant issues is the establishment of the national film and television training school. This debate has now been pushed right into limbo so that it will never be raised again. Mr Deputy Speaker, the situation is this: This Parliament is the forum of the nation. It can operate as a forum only if there is public debate on public issues. One of the important public issues of the moment is the film school. We have heard continual remarks from the other side of the House. There has been a misuse of question time. The only way in which the Opposition can put its point of view and the only way in which the honourable member for Oxley can put his point of view is to speak in this House and therefore it is essential that he be permitted to speak. The only way he can be permitted to speak now is to suspend the Standing Orders. The only machinery available to the Opposition in this context is to suspend the Standing Orders - these Standing Orders which have been misused continuously by honourable members on the other side, particularly today, so that the Government can have its say and the Opposition can be silenced.

We must suspend the Standing Orders so that the most suppressed Opposition in a comparable parliament anywhere in what one might call the Western or parliamentary world can be heard. The honourable member for Oxley, in this instance, represents 50 per cent of the people of Australia and therefore he should be heard. We want to know whether the Minister is afraid to speak. Why is it that be has not been heard in this instance? However, the essential question is whether the Opposition voice is to be heard or whether it is to be silenced, and the only way it can be heard is through suspension of the Standing Orders. It is a disgrace to the parliamentary system that the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) and the Ministry, particularly the Leader of the House (Mr Swartz), should continually misuse their majority control to silence us, and we must take every opportunity to ensure that our voice is heard, lt is important that the honourable member Ibr Oxley be heard. I do not know why the honourable members opposite, in particular the Minister, arc continually scuttling for cover.

Question resolved in the negative.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

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