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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 882

Mr LYNCH (Flinders) -Mr Clerk-

Mr Hurford - Bring out the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Mr LYNCH - I hope that all the members of the Junior Chamber have listened to the honourable member for a few moments. Parliament is in grave danger of becoming completely irrelevant when events of the type that we saw this morning are allowed to transpire in this chamber. The guilty man in this process sits on the front benches as the Prime Minister of Australia (Mr Whitlam). I am reminded very much of the socalled Address to the Nation which this gentleman gave to the people of Australia on 16 February when he said:

I speak tonight about some disturbing developments in Australia's parliamentary system which I am bound to say pose as serious a threat to its strength and stability as we ave ever encountered in our history. It is time to stop the rot.

If that time has now arrived- and surely it has, for both sides of this chamber- it is time for the Prime Minister of this country to stop the rot which has set into the parliamentary processes of Australia. The Prime Minister went on to say:

When violence is done to an important convention , a well established custom, then violence is done to democracy itself.

Mr Mathews - He was right.

Mr LYNCH - He might have been right in the statement, but if we apply that statement to what happened in the chamber this morning, violence has been done to the system and the guilty party in fact is the Prime Minister. I am finally reminded that in the same statement the Prime Minister said:

The real difficulties are great enough without deliberate sabotage.

If ever there was a case of deliberate sabotage of the knife being wielded on high- it was the sabotage that was perpetrated this morning, and that knife was plunged by the Prime Minister of this country into the back of a man with whom he had worked for a very long period of time. I am referring, of course, to the former Speaker. He now joins the ranks of the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) and the honourable member for Bass (Mr Barnard). If there is any principle clear beyond contradiction in this House tonight it is simply that the honourable members on the other side of this

House- on the Government benches- know full well that they are led by a man who has broken his trust, who has flouted convention and whose word cannot be subject to reliance.

Mr Clerk,we need in this Parliament a man who is not subject to Prime Ministerial duress, and the honourable member for Angas is a man of that type. We need in this Parliament a Speaker who can stand aside from the personal abuse of a Prime Minister when he, the Prime Minister, believes that that gentleman in the Chair is not acting in a manner which is consonant with the party political stance of the government in power. I believe that the honourable member for Angas is a man of that type. I support wholeheartedly the nomination which has been made by my colleague the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party.

The honourable member for Angas was first elected to this House in 1964, having previously served 5 years in the Parliament of South Australia. He has been re-elected at successive general elections since that time. He has toured on a number of parliamentary delegations. He is a former Deputy Opposition Whip. He carried out the requirements of that office in a most exemplary manner. Mr Clerk, I believe that the requirements of the office of Speaker- a position which has evolved over 600 years of parliamentary history- require integrity, judgment, common sense, and patience, tempered with the capacity to be able to deal effectively with what can be at times a difficult House. As I think of all those factors I have no doubt that they are manifestly evident in the qualifications of the candidate that the Opposition has put to the House tonight. I have very much pleasure in supporting in the strongest sense, on behalf of all members of the Liberal and Country Parties, the nomination of the honourable member for Angas as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mr Killen -Mr Clerk-

The Clerk - I call the honourable member for Moreton.

Mr Nicholls - Mr Clerk,I move:

That the question be now put.

The Clerk - I cannot accept the motion from the honourable member for Bonython. I call the honourable member for Moreton.

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