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Tuesday, 7 December 1965

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) .- The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) has, not for the first time, invited me to comment on his comments. On this occasion he has gone further and has challenged the Cabinet to support his attitude. Surely it is a bit late in the day to ask the Cabinet to participate in this debate when no member of the Cabinet spoke during the second reading stage on Thursday or Friday of the week before last, or Tuesday of last week, and when no member of the Cabinet spoke during the Committee stage on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of last week or has spoken today. Despite his seductive phrases, I have hitherto resisted rising to his request to comment on his comments. There has been a concerted effort by half a dozen or may be eight members - their names appeared in the division list this afternoon - to provoke and protract debate on this Bill. Where no member of the Opposition has spoken on any clause, that group have attacked the Attorney-General or their colleagues or absent members of the Cabinet or the Ministry. Where members of the Opposition have spoken on any clause, that group have confined their attacks to members of the Opposition. But, by all means, they have tried to drag out this debate and bring other people in to speak upon it. Where, as has happened on some occasions, they have all spoken twice, they have still hoped that other people would have been provoked to come in and drag out the debate.

The public is in no doubt now as to the sincerity and genuineness of honorable members on the Government side as regards this legislation. It was promised by the Governor-General in March 1960. The full proposals werelaid before the Parliament three years and one day ago.

Mr Stokes - Mr. Chairman, 1 take a point of order. What clause is under debate? This is a second reading speech.

Mr WHITLAM - Has the honorable member not been following the debate?

Mr Stokes - The honorable member is not keeping to the clause under discussion.

The CHAIRMAN__ Order! There is no substance in the point of order raised by the honorable member for Maribyrnong. However, I suggest to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that he has previously put these points to the Committee.

Mr WHITLAM - The honorable member for Moreton blasted the authors of the scheme in the most unbridled terms. He referred to this drip-dried scheme, this lunatic scheme, this " Alice in Wonderland " and Gilbert and Sullivan scheme. When one looks at his remedy, one finds it is to insert three words. If the whole concept of the Review Division of the Tribunal is as futile as he would suggest, one would think he would oppose the whole scheme or would propose a more sensible one. The only amendment he has moved is that it should be possible for the Review Division of the Tribunal to reconsider a matter on the ground, not merely that a material error of law was made by the Tribunal, but that a material error of fact was made by the Tribunal. There is indeed very little opportunity in the courts or before administrative tribunals to review facts.If there is no basis in fact or evidence for somefinding by a court or a tribunal, a question of law arises. The honorable member for Moreton seeks to insert a quite unusual provision. He castigates this fatuous Review Division, this lunatic Review Division, this drip-dried Review Division. It has to be given the power, not just to review errors of law but errors of fact as well. Is this a significant improvement? Is it an improvement at all? If the whole proposal is as odious as the honorable member says, it ought to be cut out, liver and other vitals. What a trivial, trumpery amendment he has moved to it. He has known for three years that there would bc no appeal on the ground of fact. He blasts the authors. Let me quote the only begetter of the scheme, Sir Garfield Barwick. On 6th December 1962 a statement of Sir Garfield Barwick's was laid before the House in these terms -

It is part of the scheme that the Tribunal's decision should be final and not subject to review or appeal of any kind in point of fact - much of which will be economic fact.

This lunatic, drip dry scheme in this respect was laid down by the principal author Sir Garfield Barwick three years ago! In this respect at least the Bill faithfully implements the proposals that Sir Garfield Barwick made.

One wonders how effective the representations the honorable member for Moreton are outside the House, with members of the Government and in his Party room. One knows that the Liberal Party is at sixes and sevens on the question of trade practices. There is nothing in the Liberal platform referring to restrictive practices or monopoly. The Liberal Parties in the different States and in this Parliament are completely at odds on this legislation. There is no complementary State legislation, and the States which have expressed a view on this legislation have blasted it and said that they will not co-operate with the Commonwealth Government in implementing it. The honorable member for Moreton, if he does find this clause dealing with appeals so absurd or lunatic, has had more than three years in which to press his point of view on the authors of it - on Sir Garfield Barwick, the Cabinet and his masters. This is not the first time tonight that the honorable member for Moreton has reflected in this way on Sir Garfield Barwick. Let me meet the honorable member with a paraphrase of a quotation -

But yesterday, the word of Barwick might Have stood against the world: now sits he there, And none so poor to do him reverence.

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