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Wednesday, 25 February 1959

Mr WHEELER (Mitchell) .- The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) took an extraordinarily long time to say, "No". But this is what we have come to expect from him. It can be called " Calwell's lament on the Foreign Affairs Committee" because he follows the same strain and sounds the same dismal note all the time. In effect, he says, " I will not play in your backyard unless I bat all the time " and " You play according to my rules, otherwise I will take my bat home ".

Somebody has said that the real reason for Labour's refusal to join the Foreign Affairs Committee is that the sole authority on foreign affairs in the Opposition is the right honorable member for Hunter (Dr. Evatt) and that the party does not want anybody to rival that important fount of knowledge. I suppose that where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to meddle, but I think that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition should belong to this committee. If he did join it. it would do him a world of good because, obviously, from the speech he has just made he has a breathless vision which is bounded by the Yarra and the Flemington race-course. It would be a very good idea if he joined the Foreign Affairs Committee if only to broaden his vision on these matters. We would welcome him.

Perhaps the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is frightened of learning the facts of life because the Democratic Labour party is going to join this committee. He might learn something about cloak and dagger methods iri the fields of politics and international affairs that he does not already know. I regret very much that the Labour party has declined to join this committee because I believe honorable members opposite could enlighten their minds and, as far as the Deputy Leader is concerned, we could do with a sample of his wit on the committee.

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