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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1431

Senator WHEELDON (Western Australia) - I find it rather curious that Senator Webster this evening should be arguing for an adjournment until next February of discussion on this Trade Practices Bill. I gathered from what he just said that he had already made such an exhaustive study of the Bill that he was prepared to debate the subject matter tonight without any adjournment whatever. However, it was not the latter part of his speech which I found most interesting. In fact, I did not find a great deal of it terribly interesting at all apart from 2 passages at the beginning which were extraordinarily interesting. One of them was the revelation which Senator Webster made that he was particularly qualified- in fact especially qualifiedto speak on this Bill because apparently before coming to this chamber he was a captain of industry and a prince of finance in Victoria. Unbeknown to all of us he was a sort of Andrew Carnegie of East Gippsland before entering the Senate.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Order! I ask the honourable senator to try to concentrate on the motion.

Senator WHEELDON -Thank you. The other thing which rather bewildered me was the claim which he made this evening that 3 disqualifications for speaking about restrictive trade practices were attendance at a university, being- to use the rather quaint turn of phrase to which he appears to be addicted- a legal individual, and having been a former member of the Young Liberals. I am surprised that he has such a low opinion of Senator Withers, Senator Greenwood, Senator Durack, Mr Snedden and Mr Peacock, all of whom have those qualifications. And Senator Wright.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Order! I do not think that has any relevance to the motion before the chamber.

Senator WHEELDON - I think it has some, Mr Acting Deputy President, if I may say so with due respect. It does refer to matters which were dwelt on at some length by the previous speaker.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT- I have just come into the chair.

Senator WHEELDON - 1 hope that Senator Wright is not equally disqualified from debating the matter because although I do not think he was ever a Young Liberal- that was rather after his time- he is both a legal individual, as Senator Webster would describe him, and I think he attended a university, albeit the University of Tasmania. The Bill which is before the Senate this evening is being subjected to delaying tactics by the Opposition. Rather than defeat the Bill which they could well do because they have the numbers in this chamber to do so, apparently they have decided to adjourn discussion of the Bill until February of next year. One may speculate as to why they do not want to knock the Bill over tonight but would rather let it hang until February of next year. I think that to look for the explanation of this rather strange device one has to seek some motives. I suggest that one motive would be the present disarray in which the Opposition parties find themselves. After over a week of suspense the much heralded censure motion was debated in the House of Representatives yesterday.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Order! I do not think that the censure motion in another place has anything to do with the motion in this place.

Senator WHEELDON -Mr Acting Deputy President, would you prefer me not to continue at all? I think that there has been a fairly wide ranging debate.


Senator WHEELDON - I have finished, thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I will not continue.

Senator McAuliffe - I take a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President. With respect, a ruling has been given here before that there was flexibility and that the speakers could speak over a wide range. The precedent has been established. Now you are changing the ruling which was given by the previous Acting Deputy President.

Senator O'Byrne - You do not even know what the motion is.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Order! Senator O'Byrne, I would like you to know that I do know what the motion is.

Senator O'Byrne - What is it?


Order! Senator O'Byrne it is not your place to be asking me that sort of question. I say to Senator McAuliffe that his point of order is not upheld. What I am trying to do- I try to do this without any partiality so far as anybody is concerned- is to relate the debate to the motion before the Senate. Senator Mulvihill is next on the list.

Senator Wheeldon - May I speak on this point of order? I have been subjected to constant interruptions from you, Mr Acting Deputy President, since you have been in the chair. A wide ranging debate has proceeded and I do not intend to continue trying to speak in these circumstances.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Order! The next speaker on the list is Senator Mulvihill.

Senator Wright - Put the motion.

Senator McAuliffe - Mr Acting Deputy President,you are getting intructions to put the motion from the other side of the chamber and you are doing nothing about it.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Order! Senator McAuliffe has just said that I have received instructions from the other side to put the motion. I want him to understand that no instructions have been received by me. For the almost 24 years that I have been in this Parliament I have never taken instructions from anyone. Senator McAuliffe, I want you to understand that I will not have you make statements of that sort to me.

Senator McAuliffe - Mr Acting Deputy President,with respect I did not say that you had received instructions. I said that honourable senators on the opposite side were shouting out instructions to you to put the motion. I hope that you do not take it that I implied that you had received instructions. I was only pointing out to you gracefully that Senator Wright particularly and other honourable senators on the other side were shouting out to you: 'Put the motion'. I thought that this was a disgraceful performance and lowered the dignity of the Chair. I rose to protect you.

The DEPUTY ACTING PRESIDENT (Senator Wood)- Thank you, Senator McAuliffe, for the explanation. I acknowledge it and I apologise if I have made a mistake and misinterpreted you.

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