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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 618

Mr SPEAKER -Order! If the honourable member for Prospect, whom I have warned 3 times today, does not heed my warnings I will name him.

Sir WINTON TURNBULL - I have heard people say that one of the Prime Minister's faults is that he does not make a statement on some vital issue and carry it out; but those people do not know how a coalition government works. They are not used to the procedures of a coalition government. The point is that the Prime Minister of our country cannot do that. If he could do it he would be a dictator - there is not the slightest doubt about that. We do not want a dictator. If the Prime Minister wants to put something forward he has to have the support of Cabinet and the joint Parties. I am not giving Party secrets away by saying that every time we have a joint Party meeting, at the top of our agenda is the item Bills to be explained', and the Bills are explained. More than once or twice - 7 or 8 times - after a Bill has been explained and even after it may have passed through Cabinet, I and other members of the joint Parties may have objected to it and the general feeling led to the Bill being withdrawn. Honourable members know this. No vote has been taken. All Prime Ministers since I have been here, starting with Sir Robert Menzies as he now is, have said: 'By the tone of the meeting it looks like the members are not in agreement with the Bill', and the Bill has not been brought into this House. How would a Prime Minister be if he made some statement that he would do this or that without knowing whether he could get the Bill into the House until it had passed through the democratic processes of the coalition government? This is true democracy which members of the.

Labor Party who criticise the Prime Minister and insult him in this House do not understand. I mention this matter tonight because I want to see fair play. Surely to goodness the Opposition and the people of Australia can extend it to the Prime Minister of this great nation.

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