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Tuesday, 6 March 1973
Page: 238

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Services and Property and Leader of the House) - 1 did not intend to participate in this debate, but the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) has stirred my emotions.Ifeel that I should say a few words in response to what be said a few moments ago. The Leader of the Opposition criticised the attitude and the policies of the Australian Labor Party Government in the last 3 months. Even a biased critic will agree that more has been done in the last 3 months of benefit to this country than had been done in the previous 23 years under the former government. The 2-man Government did more in an hour than the previous government did in the previous year. If honourable members study the program of legislation that has been announced by the Government they will find undoubtedly that included in it will be some of the most far-reaching and beneficial measures ever introduced into any Parliament in this nation. The Opposition has started off with disunity. We find now that members of the Country Party and the Liberal Party are blood brothers again. They have given up fighting over rooms and major matters like that. They are now speaking to each other. I never forget the first momentous days of this Government. There were more than a hundred thousand people unemployed and the nation was looking for leadership on both sides of the House, but what did we find? This did not concern the members opposite. The Leader of the Country Party (Mr Anthony) took somebody else's room, and the newspapers were full of this for days on end. The new Opposition in the Parliament was fighting not over the affairs of the nation but about whether one of the squatters should be evicted from the room of one of the leaders of the Opposition. Does anybody in this Parliament know yet who is Deputy Leader of the Opposition? I have never been told. Nobody here knows. The man who the Liberal Party claims is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has the worst room in Parliament House, and. the de facto Deputy Leader has one of the best. Mr Speaker, you have not advised me of your deliberations on this subject and consequently I think we are as much in doubt as the rest of the populace as to just who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Country Party says that he is the second most important man in opposition. I suppose he works on the same basis as the Country Party does with the boundaries of electorates - getting the minimum of votes and exerting the maximum influence it possibly can.

Rarely in my time in this Parliament have I heard a more humorous statement than the statement by the Leader of the Opposition a few moments ago that the Country Party and the Liberal Party are united in this Parliament. Honourable members know as well as I do that the Opposition is discredited. That applies to both parties, but possibly no other Party is more discredited than the Country Party, although it is stretching it a bit to say that there could be any party more discredited than the Liberal Party. The situation as I see it today is that honourable members opposite are now endeavouring to mislead the people into thinking that they are a united Opposition; that they can give leadership to this country again; that they can lead the people into the promised land. Everybody knows that they are bereft of policy and that their leadership is at the lowest possible level. Even the present Leader of the Opposition was elected to that position by a majority of only one. Can honourable members imagine, for instance, that great man, the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser), thinking that the present Leader of the Opposition has more brains than he? Certainly not. He has told the world the brains and capacity he has. Do honourable members think that the former Prime Minister looks with pride on his successor as Leader of the Liberal Party? If I were he I would say: 'I must have been crook because that chap has taken over from me'. These things are apparent for all the world to see.

Honourable members opposite talk about disunity on the Government side of the Parliament, but knives a yard long are being held by every member sitting behind the front bench on the Opposition side. The country knows it; the world knows it, and I will tell the Parliament who else knows it - the Leader of the Opposition. This is the situation on the opposite side of the Parliament. 1 do not think that in our time honourable members opposite will ever return to this side of the chamber. This is a vibrant nation looking for leadership and getting it from a government that is really doing things and a government that has a sense of responsibility to the people of this country. In this Parliament only the other day, at a time when members of the Opposition were saying that they were here to lead themselves back to government, they spent 90 minutes arguing over a minute. Imagine that - for 90 minutes this fighting Opposition argued whether it would give members a minute more to walk into the Parliament for a division or quorum. Have we heard one new idea in this debate from any honourable member opposite? Has anybody on the Opposition side of the Parliament said anything that is worth while? With all due respect to the new members, I congratulate them on making their speeches to this Parliament, but quite frankly not many of them are an improvement on the older ones who used to be here. This is the situation the Opposition members face at this time. I have no desire to hold up the business of the House, and consequently I do not think I should further delay the deliberations on the AddressinReply as many other new members wish to make their orations, but I could not let the occasion pass without saying a few words in response to what I think would be one of the weakest speeches made by a Leader of the Opposition in what was the first crusade of the present Leader of the Opposition in his endeavour to win back government of this country.

Before concluding I congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your elevation to the Speakership of this House. My association with Speakers has been a long and happy one, and I feel that with your dignity, ability, knowledge and respect for Parliament you will bring great credit to the high office you occupy. Apart from everything else, you come from a great district. You come from Redfern, where rules and standing orders are always obeyed. I know that, with that background, you will bring to the position great knowledge and respect from all members of this Parliament. 1 congratulate those honourable members who have made their opening speeches in the Parliament. I wish those on the Opposition side a short and happy career in this place; and to those who have shown such distinction from this side of the Parliament, I extend my congratulations on what they have done towards bringing about a Labor government of this country. From their contributions, it is apparent that they will play an important part in the deliberations of this chamber and the welfare of this nation.

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