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Tuesday, 9 June 1970

Dr MACKAY (Evans) - A few moments ago there were some comments to the effect that it was an act when 1 stood up to speak, that it was a prearranged deal and that I was not intended to make a speech at all. That is completely untrue. I have the notes of my speech and if honourable members opposite really want to hear it I shall deliver it now in the debate on the adjournment. However, let me say that I believe that there has been an act tonight and that it has been put on in the last few minutes. When the debate began on the second reading of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Bill the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart), who led for the Opposition, made the point that the Opposition was not opposing the Bill but was going to move certain amendments on the second reading motion. I had discussed this matter before with the Whip and had said that if the Opposition was not going to oppose the Bill I would want to make a few comments, that I would speak for a short time so that we could speed up the proceedings on a Bill such as this so that we could get to the amendments that the Opposition wanted to move. This would enable us to get through during this week such vital issues as a Bill relating to penal clauses of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, or civilian alternatives for national service, things which I imagine we all want to talk about but which we cannot all talk about if we are going to get through this week, next week, sometime or never.

Mr Foster - That is your fault, not ours.

Dr MACKAY - It is the Government's business to bring down the legislation and to see that it gets through in the time available. In those circumstances I accepted the movement of the gag and voted with the Government, whose job it is to steer the legislation through - particularly as the honourable member who led for the Opposition had made the point that the Opposition did not see any reason to oppose the Bill. I believe, therefore, that what we have been listening to in the last few minutes has been utter humbug.

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