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Wednesday, 3 May 1961


Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- Mr. Deputy Speaker,I would not have risen had it not been for the speech just made by the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), who is not prepared to attack the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) or other members of the Government that he supports for not making certain amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act. The honorable member sought to evade the consequences of his lack of courage by blaming honorable members on this side of the House, who have been in opposition for some years, for all the failings and shortcomings that are apparent in the Electoral Act. The defects of which the honorable member has complained could well have been remedied at any time in thelast twelve years, but he has never moved to have this done. I can understand that his colleagues would not take any notice of him in caucus, but Labour members might have supported him on some of his proposals.

The honorable member attacked members of the Opposition because of their policy of " one man, one vote " and their attitude to other sections of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. I think that we should examine the background in this House of the member who has made these charges. Let us see what attitude he adopts on legislation. I am reminded of a speech made in this Parliament by the late Mr. Archie Cameron who, like you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, occupied with great distinction the Speaker's chair. Speaking, I think, on an electoral bill, he said - . . 1 cannot allow the speech of the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Turnbull) to pass without comment.

The honorable member referred to is of course the present honorable member for Mallee.

It was one of the paltriest and pettiest speeches that I have heard in the whole period of my twenty years in Parliament. He quoted from an interview which he allegedly gave to the Sunraysia Daily, but apparently he wrote it himself . . . He added that he had contested three elections in twenty months. I say that it is a wonder he did not have to contest twenty in that time . . . Since he has been in this House, he has been one of the most vocal of the new members, yet he has contributed very little that was worthwhile to the debate. If we were to introduce the system of payment by results for Parliamentarians, the honorable member for Wimmera would be pretty well at the bottom of the list. I do not know whether the electors of Wimmera have developed a habit of putting freaks of one kind or another into the Commonwealth Parliament. We have just got rid of one - to Norfolk Island. He was one of the most silent members we have ever had in this place. But in exchange for the towers of silence we now have the sounding brass and the tinkling cymbal. If the electorate is in any way influenced by the case submitted by the honorable member for Wimmera, God help democracy because in that event democracy will be quite incapable of helping itself.

Those are the words of the late Archie Cameron, one of the most honest and able men who ever sat in this Parliament, and one whose judgment, capacity and character were envied by us all.







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