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Wednesday, 8 December 1971
Page: 4368


Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) (Minister for Social Services) (12:56 PM) - As so often happens in this House, the most significant speech on the Opposition's side has been made by the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), and I will return to that speech in a moment. It has been admitted that nobody who appeared before the Privileges Committee was untruthful. The Committee came to the conclusion that a mistake had been made. The question before the House relates to the significance of that mistake. If the mistake was an insignificant one, the motion as proposed by the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) will go through. If it was a significant one, perhaps the amendment should go through.

Let us look at this matter, lt has been quite obvious from speeches made by members of the Opposition that they believe that they have been wronged by this statement. They believe that they have been put in a wrong light. They say that they would not do a thing like this and that what was suggested was entirely foreign to the way in which the Opposition behaves. The honourable member for Grayndler made it quite clear that this contention could not be upheld. The honourable member for Grayndler said: 'This is the way in which we do behave. I was caught in the chamber. If I had been able to get out of the chamber T would have got out. But I could not do so'. That is what he said. This is how the Opposition behaves. The Opposition was trying to bring about the result which it did bring about. Opposition members have been saying: 'It is our job to keep the Government on its toes.' Every member knows that this is what the Opposition does time and time again. So often I come along the corridor to answer the quorum bells and find Opposition members going in the opposite direction. They say: We are not going to get into the House. It is only a quorum'. I have seen this happening dozens of times.


Mr Katter - Hundreds of times.


Mr WENTWORTH - Perhaps even hundreds of times, but certainly dozens of times. This is the way in which the Opposition behaves. The honourable member for Grayndler has let the cat out of the bag tonight in this House. If honourable members look at what the honourable member for Grayndler said - and they will read it tomorrow in Hansard - they will see that-


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I take a point of order. I will let the cat out of the bag too. My point of order is that the matter being referred to by the honourable member has nothing to do with the reference to the Committee.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett)Order!The point of order is without substance. I call the Minister for Social Services.


Mr Whitlam - On a point of order, the whole of the debate turns on the point of a story concerning members getting out of the chamber after a quorum was called. Nothing that the Minister has said bears upon the conduct of the members getting out of the chamber after a quorum is called. Everything that he has said up to this stage is quite irrelevant to the motion and the amendment before the House.







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