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Wednesday, 9 March 1977
Page: 65

Mr HODGMAN (Denison) -What an historic oration we have just heard from the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) who was known in his ministerial days as 'pushup Johnson'. It was during the period when he was Minister for Housing that interest rates for private housing in this country leapt from 6Vi per cent to 10½ per cent. He is also known as 'cut Johnson' because it was during this period that he cut by 19 per cent the Federal Government's contribution to welfare housing in Australia. He has the hide, the temerity and the audacity to criticise the most imaginative Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development ever to come from Tasmania. The Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development (Mr Newman) needs no defence at all. I throw back to the honourable member for Hughes, who is now leaving the chamber in shame and disgrace, the words that he hurled across the chamber. It was 16 February last year which became immortalised as lamingtons and sour grapes day. The spirit of that day has continued to 1977. We have seen a most extraordinary performance by members of the Opposition and in particular by Her Majesty's Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam) in the 2 days that this Parliament has been alive.

The first thing I wish to mention is the disgraceful pantomime, the charade, the petty and vindictive performance ofthe Leader of the Opposition at Fairbairn Airport on Monday last on the occasion of the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen. This man is so absolutely obsessed and unable to control himself that he could not resist the temptation to deliberately snub Her Majesty's Governor-General in the presence of Her Majesty. It is bad enough that he took the opportunity and showed poor taste and lack of judgment to snub the Governor-General at all.

Mr Peter Johnson (BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND) - He will never learn.

Mr HODGMAN - The honourable member is quite right. The Leader of the Opposition will never learn. To snub the Governor-General in front of Her Majesty was the height of impudence. I believe it was petty, vindictive and unworthy of a man who is a national leader of considerable standing.

Mr Peter Johnson (BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND) - And appointed by him.

Mr HODGMAN -Of course the GovernorGeneral was appointed by him. The point I make is that if Her Majesty's Leader ofthe Opposition is going to continue to perform in such a childish way he will have only himself to blame if honourable members opposite remove him from office. The next matter I wish to raise concerns the luncheon held on the same day which was addressed by an author called Donald Home. Those who have read a book called Death ofthe Lucky Country will be aware of the sorts of things Mr Home writes and says. At the luncheon at the National Press Club in Canberra he said something concerning Her Majesty which I believe was as ludicrous as it was offensive. He had the temerity to describe Her Majesty as the symbol of division in Australia. What a lot of poppycock. What a lot of nonsense. What a stupid thing to say. It is offensive and ludicrous for this man, this self appointed prophet who is to lead this country into the next plan, to stand in that place in Canberra and describe Her Majesty as the symbol of division in this country. The thousands of Australians who have seen or wil see Her Majesty either in person or on television during this tour will know what a stupid statement that was for Mr Home to make. I believe it has set back the republican cause in this country by at least a quarter of a century and possibly half a century. If those 2-bob republicans who have suddenly come to light out of the woodwork think they will win the support of the Australian people by having a shot at Her Majesty the Queen they have another think coming. They will damage their cause and they will become the greatest laughing stock that this country has seen for many years. It is a pity in one sense because a proper, logical and rational debate on the type of government in this country could be extremely useful. I know that there are people in this Parliament who would wish to put views as to variations of the present system. It does nobody any good to fight a cause by attacking somebody who cannot defend herself. How many times have we seen honourable members opposite using the tactic of attacking those who cannot defend themselves? As I have said, Mr Home has put back the republican cause at least a quarter of a century and possible half a century.

I refer now to the speech by the Leader of the Opposition in this building last night. He is the man who proclaims himself as supporting the conversion of Australia to a republic. One thing which absolutely fascinates me in this debate on republicanism is that I have yet to read in the Press and I have yet to hear a speaker point out that before Australia can become a republic referendums wm have to be passed to amend the Constitution. I just want to consider in the light of the history of referendums the likelihood of the people of Australia deciding to pass a referendum which overnight would have the effect of making Australia a republic. What the

Leader of the Opposition said last night proves to me that he is not really a republican at all. At the end of his speech he made the comment which I believe was very significant He said: 'Long may she reign'. What did he mean? Of course we all agree with his words 'Long may she reign'. But when the Leader of the Opposition said 'Long may she reign' it is obvious to everybody in Australia that he meant 'long may she reign as Queen of Australia'. It was the Leader of the Opposition, when he was Prime Minister, who very properly instituted the necessary legislative proceedings to have the Queen designated as Queen of Australia. So when the Leader of the Opposition said 'Long may she reign', and I add the words 'as Queen of Australia', he was admitting quite frankly that we will not see him advocating that Australia becomes a republic during the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Mr Cohen - When did the Leader of the Opposition say that he was a republican? If you had listened, he never has.

Mr HODGMAN - The honourable member for Robertson as usual corrects me. I believe the Leader of the Opposition has been honest enough to come out of the woodwork and to concede that he is one of those 2-bob republicans. He has predicted that Australia will be a republic before the end of the century. Surely the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) listens to what his Leader says. He may listen; he may not understand. Are members of the Labor Party saying that he is not a republican? If that is so, I am delighted to hear it and I have no doubt that Her Majesty and the vast majority of Australians will be delighted to hear it.

We just saw the honourable member for Hughes give a most incredible and extraordinary exhibition of pandering to the left wing. He just made a speech in which he uttered the classic words that when he saw the Usher of the Black Rod he felt sick in the stomach. He sent up the Queen. He sent up the Parliament He sent up the Usher of the Black Rod. He also sent up himself. He said he felt sick in the stomach. Quite frankly he looks sick in the stomach most of the time.

Mr Falconer -This is Les Johnson?

Mr HODGMAN -That is right. The question in which I am interested is why, if the honourable member for Hughes felt so sick in the stomach- he looked sick in the stomach- he crawled across Kings Hall to get the pick of the positions to watch Her Majesty, the symbol of the monarchy about which he is so critical, opening this Parliament. Quite frankly to what extent will these honourable members opposite go in an attempt to secure cheap points by taking a strip off Her Majesty the Queen and by taking a strip off the Usher of the Black Rod? I thought he looked pretty good. I thought he knocked very well. I thought he spoke very politely to you, Mr Speaker, and I noticed that you answered him, as usual, politely and you obeyed his request. What was wrong with that?

Mr Chipp - He looked nice.

Mr HODGMAN - He looked extremely nice, as the honourable member for Hotham reminds me. I am not saying that our Serjeant-at-Arms did not also look nice. I do not want it to be felt that the upper House is superior. What is wrong with this? Why does the honourable member for Hughes regard it as such an affront that we should have this pomp and ceremony?

Mr Martin - And he had a Wilkinson's sword.

Mr HODGMAN -Yes, exactly. There are honourable members opposite who appreciate the pomp and ceremony. I have no doubt that the thousands of people around Australia who watched it on television were impressed. Before the House commences the adjournment debate I would like to say something about a significant matter on which I thought the Labor Party would have seized. I refer to the fact that not even Her Majesty can in effect intrude into the precincts of the House of Representatives. Her Majesty sends a message and she requests us to attend forthwith in the Senate chamber. There is a little constitutional significance in that proposition for honourable members opposite who consider themselves to be such experts.

Mr Yates - They did not go last year.

Mr HODGMAN - They did not go last year; they went this year.

Mr Yates - Because it was being televised.

Mr HODGMAN - I think the honourable member is on the ball again. He is a gem. The proceedings were being televised this year. I think they were televised last year. In any event, members of the Labor Party would not go when the Governor-General was there. They went when the Queen was there. They were there in large numbers last night I think they behaved extremely well. If they are prepared to indulge in the festivities surrounding the opening of Parliament, it ill behoves them next day to say that they felt sick yesterday, when the truth is that they and some of us feel sick in the stomach today.

Mr Scholes - If you are sick in the stomach today it is because the food was too good last night.

Mr HODGMAN -I hope the honourable member for Corio is not complaining. I am told that what we had last night was nothing compared with the whoopee party in 1974. Last night cost 40 per cent less. I feel that what was put on last night was appropriate for the visit to this Parliament of the Queen of Australia. It seems to me a Utile bit rough that people who enjoyed themselves yesterday whinge today and make out that they do not really believe m the Queen and that they are republicans at heart. Mr Speaker, I do not know whether the appropriate course is for me to continue. I thought the Standing Orders said something about 10.30 p.m.

Mr Cohen - Sit down, then.

Mr HODGMAN -I am obliged to the honourable member for the invitation. I will sit down if I am given leave to continue my remarks.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member will continue addressing his remarks to the Chair until I tell him to cease.

Mr HODGMAN -I seek the indulgence ofthe Chair. Am I entitled to seek leave to continue my remarks?

Mr SPEAKER - You have all the indulgence you need to continue.

Mr HODGMAN - I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable gentleman is entitled to speak for another 8 minutes. The sessional order which would require me to put the adjournment question at 10.30 p.m. has not been passed in this session of the Parliament. Therefore we will continue until the debate is adjourned. After the debate has been adjourned the Minister will move the adjournment of the House. Then we will have an adjournment debate. Until there is a proposal for the adjournment of the debate the honourable member is entitled to continue.

Mr HODGMAN - I ask for leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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