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Wednesday, 21 October 1970

Mr NIXON (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) (Minister for the Interior) - I shall deal first with the honourable member's question concerning whether a referendum should be conducted. The question whether a referendum should be conducted on any subject at any time is always a matter of policy. Now 1 come to the second part of his question. If the electors are aware of the policies of the parties nominating candidates at the election there is an opportunity for those electors to register a vote on the question whether or not they want a Socialist state. I think the policy of the Government in this regard is well known. We respect both free enterprise and the rights of individuals. We certainly respect the proposition that initiative should be rewarded. It is a little difficult to tell these days what the policy of the Opposition is, as there seems to be a bit of a smokescreen. But 1 can say that when the right honourable member for Melbourne was the Leader of the Opposition he made no secret of the fact that socialisation was the most important plank of the Labor Party's platform. Even at this moment I hear some honourable members opposite saying 'Hear, hear* to that proposition. That first plank of the Labor Party's policy still exists, I understand. It was renewed at the last Federal Conference, and the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange remains the most important plank of the platform. Therefore, it is true to say that if electors are aware that this is the Labor Party's policy they will have an opportunity to cast their vote on the question at the Senate election. There is one other point that needs to be made. It is a little difficult to tell which way Labor would achieve socialisation. When one hears the honourable member for Lalor getting up in public places and saying-

Mr Kennedy - I rise to order, ls the policy of the Labor Party within the purview of the Minister's office? If it is not, his answer is out of order.

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