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Wednesday, 23 November 1960

Mr GALVIN (Kingston) .-I join with my 'colleagues on this side of the House in protesting against the action of th6 Government in postponing general business. Little time is given to honorable members to 'take part in debates. I think the people's representatives are entitled to speak when important matters are put on the notice-paper. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) has spoken of a motion of 'the Leader of 'the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) calling fo-r information on the recommendations of the "Constitutional Review Committee. The decisions of that committee could have very wide and important effects oh "the country at a time when the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has been talking about depression and has been warning that we might be falling into a depression again. The Government has implemented legislation and rushed measures through the House by weight of numbers.

Nobody denies that the Government has the weight of numbers, but at least we are entitled to an explanation of the postponement of private members' business. The Treasurer should tell us clearly just why honorable members are denied the right to speak, and I refer not only to members on this side of the House, but to the members of this Parliament generally. Our general business day is to be taken away from us. Members of the Australian Country Party are affected as well as members of the Opposition. Why cannot the Parliament remain in session? Why cannot the Treasurer tell us in simple terms just why the House cannot remain in session to enable discussion? Never mind saying that members do not want to stay here. It has been said that the Cabinet will be here until Christmas. If Cabinet will be here, is there any reason why every member of this Parliament should not remain?

Mr Harold Holt - No.

Mr GALVIN - The Treasurer has said that there rs no reason. He should arrange for business to proceed in accordance with a proper timetable and for the House to sit to a reasonable hour at night and so avoid the late sittings we have had in the past and will have in the future. The guillotine has been used to stifle criticism of the Crimes Bill. the motion to enable Government business to take precedence to-morrow has been proposed so that honorable member's will be Unable to voice criticism of the measure. They are being denied the right to speak on the Grimes Bill. The Government by its arrogant actions is trying to stifle criticism.

This Parliament is entitled to know the reason. Does the Government fear criticism? Is it frightened of what honorable members will say? Does it deny that honorable members have the right to express their opinions? Surely, the treasurer does hot want to rush off to play Father Christmas, because he dealt Australians a body blow with his last economic measure. I protest on behalf of 60,000 electors in my electorate. Honorable members should have the right to speak on every measure. We are being denied that right by the brutal actions of the Government which uses the gag at every opportunity.

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