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Thursday, 11 October 1973
Page: 1949

Mr SCHOLES (Corio) - I rise to raise a matter which is of extreme importance to this Parliament and to this House. It could have repercussions which could damage or destroy the parliamentary institution itself. Therefore, in raising it in this House, I think I am taking the only action that is possible at this stage. There are widespread rumours and some fairly substantial reports that major international organisations are, because their profit taking is threatened by the present Australian Government, seeking to purchase an election in Australia to replace the present Government.

Mr McLeay - What evidence do you have? Are you close to the source?

Mr SCHOLES - I think the honourable member would be closer to the source than 1 am. The situation is that very substantial amounts of money are said to be available for persons who would be disadvantaged by any action they might take in the Parliament which would result in an election; that high official office is being offered to certain persons whose careers might be interrupted or damaged. These statements are prevalent throughout this Parliament and the community. It is the responsibility of the Parliament to quash such rumours once and for all. The situation to which I draw attention is the very substantial call which is toeing made throughout the country for action to be taken in the other place to refuse supply to the Government and to override the House of Representatives - the only House which is elected by the whole of the Australian people. By resolution of the other House of this Parliament it has excluded certain sections of the Australian community from representation in that House. It has denied them representation in the national Parliament.

Mr Lloyd - Sack Marrickville.

Mr SCHOLES - I could tell the honourable member about Marrickville. Why does he not ask me to tell him about a couple of others? This is a very serious matter. If, as has already happened in Chile, international corporations are able to buy the destruction of an elected government -

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - That has not been proved.

Mr SCHOLES - All right. You support the actions in Chile because it was a left wing government and a right wing government took over; I am sure you would be in a shooting match now to replace the government if it suited you. Make no mistake about it. I am not sure that some leading spokesmen representing the Parties opposite have not already had talks along that line.

Mr Lloyd - I rise on a point of order. I find any reference to the question of support for the new regime in Chile personally abhorrent to me and I ask the honourable member for Corio to withdraw it.

Mr SCHOLES - I was not referring to the interjection made by the honourable member so he cannot take offence at my remark. 'The situation is that I understand one Party has already taken a decision to refuse supply.

Mir Corbett - Name it.

Mr SCHOLES - You name it. The situation - I make this statement quite categorically - is that the Senate has the power under the Constitution to refuse supply. That power is present because of an accident of time. Had the Constitution been drafted at a later time when certain events had taken place in the United Kingdom relating to matters of supply, the passage of Supply Bills in the Senate would no longer be necessary as they now are no longer necessary in the Upper House of the United Kingdom Parliament. Only the House of Commons is required to pass supply. The rejection of supply in an upper House is a step which should be taken with great care. I make these points quite clearly. Only the House of Representatives can initiate money legislation. Without the concurrence of the

House of Representatives no Supply Bill can be passed and no funds can be spent from the Commonwealth Treasury.

Mr Anthony - You are running to water; that is your trouble.

Mr SCHOLES - You are an opportunist of the worst type. If you remain quiet I might tell you something.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member for Corio will address the Chair.

Mr SCHOLES - The situation is that if a Supply Bill is passed through this House it can be agreed to or rejected by the Senate. If the Senate rejects the Supply Bill there is no obligation whatsoever on this House to pass an amended Supply Bill. I would suggest that some honourable members opposite, who are running away from their responsibilities as members of the House of Representatives, should consider that aspect, especially members opposite who are publicly stating that they will in no way interfere with the profit-taking rights of multi-national corporations even where Australia's interests are concerned. In the final analysis this is a matter which will have to be resolved in the House of Representatives. If the Senate rejects Supply even members of Parliament stop getting paid, pensioners do not get paid, the Public Service will not be paid and there will be no funds to run an election.

Mr Lloyd - You are trying to scare us.

Mr SCHOLES - I am not trying to scare honourable members. I am telling them the facts. The Senate does not, because of its own resolution, represent all Australian people. The Senate, which is not elected on a basically equal franchise, is not the House of government - the House of Representatives is.

Sir John Cramer - You are running scared.

Mr SCHOLES - I am not running scared. I will be back, make no mistake about it. What I am worried about is that we might have the Government of Australia in board rooms in the United States of America. That is what I am afraid members opposite are prepared to allow. The situation which could occur in Australia after 30 November if supply is refused in the other place and this House, by majority, expresses its confidence in the Government, as it will, and refuses to pass an amended Supply Bill-

Mr Lloyd - How do you work that out.

Mr SCHOLES - I can count past 10, but the honourable member cannot. This House has every right to refuse to pass an amended Supply Bill at the behest of the Senate. I am asking honourable members opposite to give consideration to their positions as members of the House of Representatives.

Sir Sohn Cramer - We have.

Mr SCHOLES - Have you? I ask honourable members opposite to give very serious consideration to what the situation will be if this House hands over the power of government to the Senate on a permanent basis. No party can guarantee or expect to have a majority in the Senate because of the manner in which its members are elected. Approximately half of the members of the Senate were elected when Harold Holt was Prime Minister of Australia. I think some honourable members can remember back that far.

Mr King - You had better hurry up.

Mr SCHOLES - I will hurry up. Very strong statements have been made that multinational corporations are trying to buy an election in Australia. If an election is bought in Australia on this occasion the parliamentary institution is totally dead.

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