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Tuesday, 9 June 1970


Mr STEWART (Lang) - The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Bill was introduced on about 4th March and since that time I have had discussions with the Parliamentary Liaison Officer and with the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz). I told them that there would be at least 6 honourable members from this side of the House wanting to speak on the second reading and that something like 6 amendments would be moved by the Opposition. Last week I gave the Minister for National Development and the Parliamentary Liaison Officer a summary of the amendments that we proposed to move. Tonight I think I indicated to a lot of people around this House that there were two or three other people from our side still to make their speeches. The Deputy Speaker spoke to me only a few minutes before the gag was moved and I told him that the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) was our next speaker, that the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) was the other speaker and that the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) would perhaps rise. While we were debating the motion for the adjournment I went to our Caucus room and took this list off the board. Honourable members can see by the missing pieces in the corners that I have pulled it off the board. This list has been on our Caucus notice board all day. It reads: 'Stewart, Fraser, Patterson' - he withdrew from speaking - 'Jacobi, Luchetti, Foster, Armitage, Keating'. The honourable member for Blaxland (Mr Keating) also decided to withdraw. A similar notice has been on the Whip's desk all day. When I spoke to the Leader of the House a few moments ago about cutting out our 2 speakers he handed me a list that reads: 'Stewart, Fraser, Patterson, Jacobi' for the Opposition and 'Fairbairn, Robinson Mackay' for the Government side. I do not know where the mistake occurred but I am shocked to think that after playing the game' as I have tried to play it that this sort of mistake can happen. I cannot say who is to blame but I am grossly disappointed that in debating this Bill not one of our members went his full time. I took only something like 28 minutes of my 45 minutes, the honourable member for EdenMonaro (Mr Allan Fraser) took something like 28 minutes and the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) took something like 20 minutes. We were not playing around. We were not trying to interfere with the proceedings of the House and we were not trying to delay things.


Mr Armitage - Some of us withdrew too.


Mr STEWART - Yes, 3 or 4 honourable members withdrew. I do not think that the Government can expect us to put up with these things. There was a mistake. Where the mistake was 1 do not know, but I do not think it should happen, otherwise the Government will find that the Opposition will again get angry and, as I said on the last occasion, when we lose our tempers we have nothing else to lose, and the turmoil that is created in the House is then sheeted home to the Opposition when the Opposition is not to blame for it. I hope that when the Snowy Mountains Corporation Bill comes back into the chamber at the Committee stage that we will be given ample opportunity to argue the amendments that we intend to move, because we will move them at the request of the professional employees associations of the Snowy Mountains Authority and because of our own desire to see the Snowy Mountains Authority preserved in something like its original form. We are not mucking about oh this Bill. It is part of our policy to have a Snowy Mountains water conservation and construction authority. We are genuine in our attempt to try to preserve this mighty authority that has been in existence for over 20 years. I ask now that when our amendments come up at the Committee stage there will be no misunderstandings like those that have occurred this evening.


Mr Bryant - I wish to make a personal explanation. On 22nd May-







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