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Friday, 10 December 1965

Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I agree with the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in his tribute to you, Sir, and to all the people who serve us in this Parliament and who help to make democracy function. I agree wilh all that the Prime Minister has said about the importance of Parliament. I particularly agree with him in the remark he made concerning the democratically elected institution of which we are a part. There is no State Parliament in Australia that is really representative of the people in the sense in which this Parliament is representative of the people. They all work under some gerrymandered system or other; but this Parliament, from the beginning of Federation has, as nearly as practicable, represented the will of the people. Of course, it all depends upon a count of heads. As one Conservative in England said 100 years ago: " Democracy rests on majority rule ". Somebody else has said that there is nothing sacred about majority rule, nothing sacred about the rule of 99 over 1 or 51 over 49. This is method of order, but not necessarily justice; but it is the only system that is an alternative to some form of Fascism, some form of Communism or some form of authoritarian control.

I think that this occasion could be an historic one. I do not want to peer too far into the future, but I have what Carlyle would have called a preternatural suspicion that things might happen next year. Well, it is a rather sad occasion, but it is an important occasion. And in a sad and glorious sense I am proud to be here today before what I think might happen does happen.

Mr Aston - Are you retiring, Arthur?

Mr CALWELL - I am not retiring, no, neither from the leadership of my Party nor from the Parliament; but there may be other retirement's. I am merely adumbrating a couple of subjects. We have worked together, with some ferocity, with some moments of strain, with some disagreements. We have even disagreed with another chamber, but only temporarily, because the genius of the Parliament can always find a way out of difficulties, and we have found that today.

We are about to go away into a recess of eight to ten weeks, and God knows what we face next year - Rhodesia, Vietnam and lots of other problems. But we shall try to find solutions to them insofar as wc are important enough or big enough to be able to offer a constructive suggestion. On behalf of the Opposition I wish you, Mr. Speaker, and all honorable members on the other side of the House, as we wish ourselves, a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We also wish all the people of Australia well. They put us here and they keep us here - and in many cases refuse to see through us when they keep us here. Above all, we believe in the motto of our nation - "Advance Australia Fair".

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