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Wednesday, 15 March 1961

Mr MACKINNON (Corangamite) . - We have had the usual tirade from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that we get every time the subject of the Foreign Affairs Committee comes up. I feel that he is somewhat like the person described as looking through the keyhole trying to find out what is going on inside the room. He has the opportunity of allowing his own supporters to join this committee. They understand the apparent anomaly which obviously has slipped past him, that when the membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee is chosen certain vacancies are in effect kept for the Opposition which, we hope, with the wisdom of the years will eventually participate in the committee. So in fact the committee is reduced to two types of membership at the moment - members who are the definite members of the committee from the Government parties, and members, also from the Government benches, who are temporarily filling the vacancies which we hope will some day be filled by Opposition members. I hope that that makes the position quite clear to the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Failesis already a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Lucock has been a member of the first part of the committee - that is to say, a permanent member - and Mr. Failes has been a member of that part of the committee consisting of those temporarily filling vacancies to be filled by the Opposition when it sees fit to participate in the committee. So. in fact, the appointment of Mr. Failes is not a new appointment. Mr. Failes will now become a member of the permanent section of the committee, and Mr. Anderson will become a member of the other section of the committee.

May I close on this note? I repeat that the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition is not reflected in the private conversations of many of his supporters. I also say that the fact that we do not make a great fanfare of trumpets over the committee's activities, and tell them to all the world, does not mean that we are not doing a very great and valuable work on behalf of the people of Australia. A lot goes on behind the scenes. I can well understand why he would like to get his eye to the keyhole and have a jolly good look.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I point out that there is a motion of want of confidence in the Government before the House. Under the circumstances, it is questionable whether it is expedient to proceed with this debate. I call the honorable member for Parkes, but I remind him that there has been a little laxity in the debate so far. I ask him to confine his remarks, as I know he will, to the subject-matter before the Chair, which is the nomination of certain honorable members for the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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