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Tuesday, 7 December 1965

Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- The criticism launched by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) against this clause was couched in what' must have been the most drastic language used by any honorable member in the course of this debate. Despite all his criticism, the honorable member seeks to add only the words " or of fact " to paragraph (c) of subclause (1.) of clause 63. I would have thought that such drastic language would have accompanied at the very least a motion for the withdrawal of the clause. As a layman - probably most of us are in this category - I find it very difficult to understand the phraseology of any legislation, particularly one that is tied up with legalisms as in this Bill. We should be grateful that we have the services of a senior partner of the Sullavan Brothers to put us right on these matters. I do not intend to debate the effect of the honorable member's amendment, but I cannot allow to pass without comment the bitter attack that he made on the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). The honorable member said that 20 years ago the right honorable member for Kooyong would have torn the very liver out of this Bill.

Mr Killen - Out of this provision.

Mr DALY - That is right. That statement is made by a supporter of the Government - a supporter of the legislation. How did the legislation ever get into the Parliament, having regard to the criticism made of the Prime Minister by a member of his party? The honorable member further challenged any member of the Ministry to defend this clause. I give the honorable member for Moreton credit for his stand, because no member of the Ministry other than the Attorney-General has been prepared to support any part of the Bill, let alone the clause now under discussion. 1 join with him in asking that a member of the Ministry defend at least some part of the Bill, if not the clause now before the Committee. More in sorrow than in anger and with a certain amount of sympathy, I record the unfortunate fact that the Attorney-General has been left to carry the baby. He has done his job effectively in the face of base disloyalty and sabotage from backbench members on the Government side who do not appear to want this legislation at all. They will not defend the Attorney-General, but it may be some comfort to him to know that I think it is to his credit that, as a member of the Government, he has put before the Parliament proposals to which all members of his party are committed but which they will not support in this chamber.

The honorable member for Moreton has offered a challenge. He has questioned the very integrity of the Prime Minister. How will this legislation ever work if this is the sort of support that the Government is receiving from ite own backbench members? We can imagine the reactions of the people who will be affected by the Act - the poor corner shopkeepers about whom we have heard so much - when the honorable member for Moreton has described it as something from Gilbert and Sullivan or something from " Alice in Wonderland ". The Australian people cannot be very impressed when they hear these comments made about legislation that has been introduced by the Attorney-General. Surely this type of criticism should not pass unnoticed by members of the Ministry. I also believe that they should be present in the chamber tonight to defend the legisla tion. It is too much to expect, Mr. Chairman, that members of your Party would speak on the Bill. When they sit silent, we suspect that they do not know anything; when they speak, we are sure of it.

We would like to know who on the Government side supports this clause. The honorable member for Moreton does not and, to his credit, he has said that he does not believe in the legislation. It is a far step back from tonight, when he has challenged the Prime Minister to defend this legislation, to the time when the Prime Minister said: "Killen, you are magnificent ". How times have changed. Evidently, the disappointments of not reaching the Ministry have reached out to clause 63.

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