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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 922


The PRESIDENT - Order!


Senator Withers - With respect, Mr

President, I am not yapping.


The PRESIDENT - Order! The Leader of the Opposition is entitled to be heard in silence.


Senator MURPHY - My proposal in the light of what has been said by the Prime Minister is that a further clause be added at the end of this motion. This would be to the effect that the Committee not proceed with the inquiry if the Government appoints a royal commission to inquire into these matters. I ask whether that could be done by an amendment moved by one of my colleagues or, conveniently, whether the Senate would grant me leave now to amend my motion by adding those words. I ask for leave to do so.


The PRESIDENT - Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


Senator MURPHY - I add to the end of the motion the following paragraph:

That the Committee not proceed with the inquiry if the Government appoints a royal commission to inquire into these matters.

The proposal is that an inquiry should be conducted by a Senate committee. The membership of that committee will be 3 Government senators, 1 Democratic Labor Party senator and 2 Australian Labor Party senators, with the chairman of the Committee being a Government senator.

That committee should proceed to an urgent inquiry. That can be done in circumstances where there is every safeguard for the Government if it wants to clear its name. The Government could hardly resist the suggestion that there be an inquiry by a parliamentary committee so constituted. If the Government does not consider a parliamentary committee to be the proper vehicle, all it has to do is appoint a royal commission which will investigate these matters. Under the terms of the motion the inquiry by the committee would not proceed. We think that is a reasonable proposal. The proposal that there be some form of inquiry is a necessary one. We believe what we have put forward is sufficient. If the Government refuses to have such an inquiry and if some honourable senators vote against such an inquiry, this will mean that the Government is not willing to respond to the complaints made by the Government of Yugoslavia. It will mean that the Government wants to prevent an inquiry into matters which have seriously dented the relationship between this country and Yugoslavia. It will mean that the Government is not willing to inquire into what has lead to a state of terrorism in Australia where innocent Australian citizens may be injured in the streets of Sydney. Mr President, I commend the motion to the Senate.







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