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Tuesday, 6 March 1973
Page: 206

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance in the point of order.

Mr SCHOLES - I can understand the honourable member's charging at this matter. One of the Opposition's front bench members would not speak because he would have to divide his time between 2 sitting days of the Parliament. That is how serious honourable members opposite are. They are a pack of prima donnas.

Mr Giles - Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The honourable member knows very well that this was explained by me during the adjournment debate on the last day of sitting. The speech would have been the maiden speech of a member of the Australian Country Party.

Mr SCHOLES - It ill behoves the honourable member to speak on this matter. The speakers listed were the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), then the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), followed by the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Hewson). There were 2 Liberal Party speakers who would not come into the House. The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) can ask members of his own Party.

Mr Giles - You are out of date, as usual.

Mr SCHOLES - I had the list of speakers in front of me. I can understand the Deputy Whip of the Liberal Party being upset when members of his own Party are not here to back up the statements of their Leader in this House.

I want to deal with one other subject which I think should be aired in this Parliament. A lot of statements have been made, especially by Opposition members, alleging that other governments would not be prepared to trust a government which accepted the advice of its outside political organs. They are saying quite clearly and loudly that if a political Party is honest - I emphasise that word - and acknowledges the right of its members to have a say in the way that Party conducts itself in the Parliament, other governments would not be able to trust that Party. What is in fact being said is that governments such as the Canadian Government cannot be trusted. In that country the Prime Minister is selected by the Party conferences, not by the parliamentary Party, and it is usually necessary for the Party to provide a seat in parliament for that member after he is elected leader of the Party. 1 suggest that some degree of honesty in approach by Opposition members would be of great value to this Parliament. I also suggest that if members of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party in this place do not stand on the platforms of their Parties, are heard publicly to state that they do not support the policies of their Parties and are not in this Parliament or other parliaments for the purpose of implementing the policies of their Parties, their election is nothing short of a confidence trick. They have stood for election on a party platform but they come into the Parliament and say that they are not prepared to accept the policies of the party which they sought election to represent.

At this stage I suggest that there are very important matters before this Parliament. The Australian Labor Party, which now has the privilege of forming a Government in this Parliament, was elected on a policy and platform which was devised by consultations through all organs of the Party and by accepting advice from persons outside the Party who wished to make submissions to the Party. It was a policy which was refined over a long period of time and enunciated by the Leader of the Party on behalf of the Party. To suggest or in any way indicate that this Government, having been elected, should now repudiate its announced policies and the means by which those policies were evolved would be to suggest that the Government of the country could become dishonest. I suggest that any man who seeks his Party's endorsement and stands for election on the policy of that Party and then seeks to repudiate in the Parliament the right of that Party to ask him to carry out the policies on which he was elected is a person not fitted to be a member of this or any other Parliament.

The matters which were placed before the Australian people in the Governor-General's Speech as the programme of this Government constitute a programme to bring Australia forward into the 1970s out of the dim, dark ages in which the unimaginative LiberalCountry Pary government maintained it. At the time when the former government was defeated we bad not advanced beyond the mid- 1950s, and anyone who has listened to what has been said in this House since that time by the members of the former government parties will fully realise just how far in the past those people are living.

I have pleasure in supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-RepIy. I believe that the Speech given by the GovernorGeneral outlines a basic programme for Australia of which every Australian will be proud. I am sure that this House will overwhelmingly accept that programme in the years to come, and we will make sure that it will be implemented.

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