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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1857

Mr WHITTORN (BALACLAVA, VICTORIA) - J address a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. As the Australian Labor Party has called for an increase in the price of Australian crude oil I ask the Minister: What is the Government's attitude to this proposition? Has the Opposition made representations to the Government regarding this subject and is its attitude a unanimous one?

Mr CHIPP (HOTHAM, VICTORIA) (Minister for Customs and Excise) - Yesterday the Australian Labor Party introduced a matter of public importance on the question of oil exploration. I would say from the point of sheer objectivity and impartiality that, if ever a piece of exquisite political masochism was perpetrated by a Party against itself, this was it. Dining the course of the debate the honourable member for Dawson, supported by other Labor speakers, said that one of the features-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Minister will not be in order in referring to a debate in this session. Tn fact when the question was first asked I should have ruled it out of order because it referred to such a debate. I have sought advice on this since the Minister began his reply. If he refers to a debate in the current session he will be out of order.

Mr CHIPP - May I answer it without reference to the debate?

Mr SPEAKER -It was my fault. I should have ruled the question out of order at the beginning. T have sought some advice since the Minister started his answer. T think that in view of the circumstances and with the indulgence of the House the answer should be allowed.

Mr CHIPP - If there is no reference to the debate by me will I be in order?

Mr Whitlam - I rise to order, Mr Speaker. The Minister is not entitled to take advan tage of the fact that you, perfectly humanly, made an error in this case. If we had sought to revive a debate on some question there is no doubt that the point would have been taken.

Mr SPEAKER -I uphold the point of order. The Minister will not be in order in answering the question because the question was out of order.

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