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Wednesday, 3 April 1968

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I suggest that the honourable member direct that question to someone else.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Very well, Mr Speaker. The honourable member for Moreton lamented the fact that members of the Opposition had not taken part in the debate. We did not have to. There was a much more bitter and acrimonious debate going on on that side of the House. Hardly any of the honourable members on the Government side agreed with what the Government said. So why did we need to buy in on the debate? We were getting so much valuable information simply by sitting back and listening to Government members, as the honourable member for Moreton said, cutting themselves to ribbons. Of course honourable members opposite have been cutting themselves to ribbons. They have done this with every justification because their Ministers have misled them. The Ministers have tried to fob them off because the 'old school' boys have been out to save the establishment. This is one of the few occasions on which the Parliament has triumphed over the establishment. Mr McNicoll, as he now is, and those who follow him may take no comfort from the statement by the honourable member for La Trobe when he issued a warning to ratings and those of junior rank not to attempt to throw over the establishment. I say that this Parliament has proved that the establishment can be overthrown. Let me say to the ratings that they ought to do what Cabban has done. When they see an injustice or when they see the brass hats do something that is not in the best interests of the Service they ought to come to a member of Parliament and claim the privileges that Parliament will give to them by exposing these people. We ought to have an act of Parliament that gives to these people in the armed Services and elsewhere the same protection that we give to trade unionists who ask for the protection of a court controlled ballot. Any person who tries to intimidate directly or indirectly a person who wishes to avail himself of his rights as a citizen or a member of the Services ought to be faced with imprisonment for 12 months. Any senior officer who attempts to suborn or intimidate a witness of junior rank from giving evidence to the Parliament or any other proper authority seeking it in order to rectify a wrong, ought to be treated in the same way and to suffer a penalty of 12 months imprisonment and immediate dismissal as well.

It was amusing, I think to everyone, to see the humorous affectation of the honourable member for Moreton stroking his yellow moustache one moment, putting his fingers on one side of his face at another moment' and adopting the stance of Pitt the Younger, wilh the verbiage and the wonderful flowery language of Edmund Burke. We saw this great legal giant, pontificating on points of law and telling the former judge, the honourable member for Warringah, where he was wrong on important points of law. He also told the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Hughes), an eminent Queen's Counsel, and the smiling member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock) what they had yet to learn about the law.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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