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Wednesday, 24 May 1972
Page: 2037

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) - I speak on the motion moved by Senator Rae seeking the tabling of the documents. I do so because I believe the tabling of the documents lacks value. At the last minute, Senator Rae thought that he had to back up his colleagues by some move or other. They had consistently refused to permit the incorporation in Hansard of the documents. Senator Rae was off the stage and not in the limelight. Because of this, he wanted to get into the play and moved for the tabling of the documents. What is the value of tabling these documents which will be published tomorrow in Hansard where everyone can read them? The motion for the tabling of the documents, if successful, would have no benefit other than to give some justification for what the 2 Ministers have done in the course of this evening's adjournment debate and to give some support to those Ministers in the reason that they advanced for corrupting the normal procedures which are followed here in an adjournment debate.

The Opposition has taken the attitude that, if members of the Government wish to play, it is prepared to stay here and carry on this act. Mr President, you have my sympathy in that you must preside over a chamber in which such Ministers for no reason at all, despite what Senator Wright has said, refuse to an honourable senator the right to obtain leave to incorporate in Hansard documents which he could and did get in by reading those documents. The Ministers and honourable senators forget occasions when, by consent of the Opposition, the Government is given leave to incorporate in Hansard material including second reading speeches which should never be so incorporated. Therefore 1 say that it cannot be expected that the co-operation which has been given in the past for the inclusion of documents in Hansard will continue in the future.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - So far as those 2 Ministers are concerned.

Senator CAVANAGH - I do not know whether it should be extended beyond the 2 Ministers. They are part of the Government which uses no means to discipline its Ministers for action in this House which to my mind is disorderly. The Government should take some action against the Ministers who should be held wholly responsible for what has occurred. I do not know whether there is some jealousy between Ministers but we get behaviour like this at a time when the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) is not here which we do not get when he is here. Whether it is done to try to show up some junior Minister who has been promoted over someone else I do not know. However, we have an attempt on this occasion to discredit Senator McAuliffe who was placing before Parliament what he thought was a genuine case. He was prepared to make all the documents available and asked for their inclusion in Hansard. Now we have them in Hansard and there is nothing in those documents that cannot be found out because the documents will be published later today. So what is the purpose in cluttering up the room of the Clerk of the Senate? The documents were attainable and everything in them will be known now. I do not think that there is any strong objection to Senator McAuliffe tabling these documents, but on principle they should not be tabled. It is an insult to the Senate to table documents after, because of the opposition of Ministers, we had to go through the procedure of having them placed in Hansard by being read. I hope the motion is defeated.

Senator Webster - I rise to Order, Mr President. Would you rule whether there is provision for debate under standing order No. 364?

The PRESIDENT - Order! I have ruled that the motion seeking a document to be laid upon the table can be debated subject to the rale of relevancy.

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