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Wednesday, 28 September 1949

Mr CHIFLEY - I have not seen the statement purported to have been made by the Minister for Transport. No doubt the Minister may have said, as he has said previously in this House, that if it is the wish of the people that u referendum be held on a particular subject, their wish should be granted, irrespective of what may be our views. What I want to say at once, and what I think has already been said by other Ministers, is that this Government will not be a party to any procedure that does not conform to the Constitution.

Mr Anthony - I did not ask that question. I asked whether the Government would agree to the holding of n constitutional referendum.

Mr CHIFLEY - I have made it clear that everything we do will be donĀ« constitutionally. There are differences of opinion regarding the meaning of the provisions of the Constitution. I once heard the Leader of the Opposition express what was undoubtedly his honest opinion about the constitutional position with regard to uniform income tax, but the High Court differed from him. Thea are wide differences of opinion among distinguished lawyers about the meaning of the provisions of the Constitution and as everybody knows varying opinions have been argued before the High Court and the Privy Council. The Government does not propose to do anything unconstitutional.

Mr Beale - It cannot do so.

Mr CHIFLEY - Why, then, did the honorable member for Richmond ask his question?

Mr Anthony - I want to know whether the Government is prepared to take a referendum of the people on this subject.

Mr CHIFLEY - The honorable member for Parramatta might take his colleague from the Australian Country party aside and give him a private lesson.

Mr Beale Mr. Beale interjecting,

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