Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 22 April 1971

The PRESIDENT - Senator Little,will you repeat that please?I have just come into the chamber.

Senator Little - As a point of order, Mr President, I ask how Senator Murphy came to have the floor of the Senate at the moment. Is he speaking to a point of order, a motion or what?

The PRESIDENT - I will hear Senator Murphy for a while to determine whether he is speaking on a point of order or not.

Senator Murphy - Mr President, it may well be that Senator Little's question should have been directed to the previous speaker, the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), when he suggested that a message be sent or somebody be sent for. The question equally would be applicable in the procedural situation that has arisen. The President or anyone else occupying the chair is entitled to the assistance of honourable senators and I am endeavouring to give that at the moment. Senator Wright made a suggestion to the then presiding officer and I have suggested that perhaps the matter might be resolved. I can see that while I have been on my feet it has been resolved. Senator Mulvihill is in the chamber. There is no necessity for invocation of the officers in order to have him here, and we would hope that the matter might be resolved without further dissension.

Senator Wright - Mr President, the matter had proceeded beyond the stage to which Senator Murphy's remarks refer. 1 would hope that Senator Mulvihill might, without the formalities, offer his apologies and withdraw. But if that is not availed of I must move, Mr President, that' Senator Mulvihill be called upon to stand in his place in accordance with standing order 440. and make any explanation or apology he may think fit.

Senator Wheeldon - Mr President-

Senator Murphy - Mr President,' if I may again- ?

The PRESIDENT - Order! I think I should hear Senator Wheeldon but I will let you proceed first.

Senator Murphy - I understand that Senator Mulvihill is prepared to withdraw.

Senator Mulvihill -Maj, 1 say something?

Senator Murphy - Yes, I understand that Senator Mulvihill wishes to say something immediately which would resolve the matter.

The PRESIDENT - Senator Mulvihillhas Dot risen. I call Senator Wheeldon.

Senator Wheeldon - 1 rise to a point of order. My point of order is that while Senator Mulvihill was absent - from the chamber Senator Gair said quite clearly that Senator Mulvihill needs a psychiatrist. I submit to you that that is offensive.

Senator Gair - I said that in solicitude for him.

Senator Wheeldon - Senator Gair admits he said it. I regard this as a gross reflection upon Senator Mulvihill and if Senator Mulvihill is to be called upon to withdraw-

The PRESIDENT - Order! That is not a point of order. You are raising a fresh matter which has no bearing on what we are now discussing.

Senator Wheeldon - My point of order is this: I draw your attention to the statement by Senator Gair, and I believe it should be proceeded with as soon as we have determined the other matter.

The PRESIDENT - We will deal with one matter at a time. That is the whole point, as I understand it.

Senator Byrne - Mr President, in the course of his remarks Senator Murphy said that Senator Gair had not asked for a withdrawal from Senator Mulvihill. I merely point out that Senator Mulvihill, almost in the course of making his remarks, left the chamber and therefore there was no opportunity for Senator Gair to ask for a withdrawal in the absence of the honourable senator. I would not like it to be thought that Senator Gair was accepting the statement ' by Senator Mulvihill and that ' Senator Mulvihill was withdrawing it unasked or unrequested. I do not know whether Senator Gair would have asked for a withdrawal; but, as a matter of fact, the opportunity did not appear to me to be there for him to do so.

Senator Mulvihill - Mr President, I think the proceedings pf the' Senate are more important than differences of opinion between Senator Gair and myself. So, in the interests of the legislative programme and progress, I withdraw.

Senator Murphy - Mr President, I now ask that you require Senator Gair to withdraw the offensive remark that he made concerning Senator Mulvihill.

Senator Wright - I must say, Mr President, that when Senator Wheeldon spoke was the first time I had the slightest idea that anything of the sort was alleged to have been said. I did not hear it!

Senator Gair - Mr President, I admit making the remark, and I withdraw it. That does not stop me from believing it, though.

Senator Murphy - Mr President, I ask that you require that Senator Gair withdraw that further remark, which is aggravating the situation. When he says: 'I believe it', that is a most offensive aggravation. I ask that you require him to withdraw that.

The PRESIDENT - Senator Gair, will you withdraw the qualification?

Senator Gair - Yes, Mr President: anything for peace and quietness.

Senator Byrne - Mr President, there is another matter which arose during this confrontation and which I believe is more serious than anything else. In view of Senator Mulvihills statement that he is interested in this chamber proceeding properly and calmly, 1 am sure that in respect of his reflection on yourself when, from my recollection, : he accused you of being partisan, on reflection-

Senator O'Byrne - He did not. The President was not in the chair.

Senator Byrne - I apologise; i mean the Acting Deputy President who was in the chair at the time.- I think that, on reflection, Senator Mulvihill will be happy to withdraw such a reflection which, I am sure, on consideration he would not intend. But I believe that his attention and that of the chamber should be drawn to it.

The PRESIDENT - I think Senator Mulvihills withdrawal would cover all those things. Honourable senators, I must take this opportunity to warn you once again that altogether too much loose language has been used in this chamber over the last little while. You cannot get away with making these statements. They are made and made maliciously and with the intention of doing damage. You just cannot do that. If you would: observe a little more decorum in your remarks, I think you would get along very much better. I call Senator Gair.

Senator GAIR - Now 1 might be permitted to make my speech without interruption. 1 can understand this rotten record of Red China-

The PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senators time has expired. Senator Wright - In view of the circumstances. I move:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Gair from speaking for a period equivalent to that which was occupied after the altercation involving Senator Mulvihill and Senator Gair occurred.

Senator Willesee - I think there is a little confusion as to what time is involved.

Under the Standing Orders Senator Gair was allowed a quarter of an hour. What is the Minister moving now?

Senator Wright - I am moving to extend the time to the extent of the period occupied as a result of the altercation.

Senator Willesee - So that Senator Gair will have a total of 15 minutes?

Senator Wright - Yes.

Senator Willesee - I think that is all right.

Senator Cant - I do not think a motion for an extension of time should be so vague. If the Minister wants to move for an extension of time for Senator Gair,' the Senate probably will agree; but we want to know what we are doing and how much time is .to be given. If Senator Gair had spoken for 13 minutes before the row blew up, we are prepared to give him an extra 2 minutes. But we want to know what the period of time is. We do not want vagueness.

Senator Wright - In deference to Senator Cant, if he* has expressed the general view, and in order to enable the debate to proceed, I will move:

That so much .of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Gair from speaking for a further 7 minutes.

Senator Willesee - For my part, I wantto see Senator Gair have his full quarter of an hour. .1 think that proposition is fair and I would vote for that. The Minister now suggests 7 minutes. Could he find out whether that is the appropriate period? Do the Clerks have the necessary records?

Senator Wright - That is. the Clerks' estimate.

Senator Willesee - Let us get this clear. The understanding is that we are giving Senator Gair an extension of 7 minutes so that he will have 15 minutes, which is the time allowed under the Standing Orders. I personally agree with that.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senator GAIR - I thank Senator Wright, Senator Willesee and honourable senators generally for their consideration.

Senator Georges - Do not bother to thank me.

Senator GAIR - If the honourable senator will be quiet I will fit what I want to say into 7 minutes. I can understand why members of the Opposition become a little disturbed when we list the rotten record of Red China in the matter of aggression against peaceful countries such as Tibet. Red China is the country for which they want recognition. What will recognition gain? The matter of urgency submitted by Senator Turnbull says that it is in Australia's interests. What benefits can we hope to derive from the recognition of Red China under existing circumstances? We will have its embassy here. That will further tax our security forces. They are fully engaged now in protecting the Russian embassy. If we have an embassy of Red China here we will have to increase the security staff. 1 believe that, the policy of the Democratic Labor Party, which I am privileged to lead, is well , known in this connection. If Red China feels that she is isolated today, if is because of her own conduct and nobody else's. If she is unable to obtain admission to the United Nations, again it is because she does not recognise the United Nations Charter. 1 am sure that when she is prepared to do that the nations of the world will recognise her. I believe that that would be the time for Australia to give consideration to according her recognition. But we are asked to recognise her now, before she is considered fit and proper to be a member of the United Nations.

Red China demands, as a condition of diplomatic relations, acceptance of her claims of sovereignty over Taiwan and its 14 or 15 million people. Also Communist China's endorsement of an inevitable world war for the triumph of Communism renders her unworthy of recognition or entry to the family of nations. Her uncooperative attitude in the matter of diplomatic relations is worth noting. She has refused to receive an ambassador from Britain although Britain recognised her in 1949. Britain is represented in Peking by a minor official who is treated with contempt.

So, we repeat and reaffirm our opposition to Communist China's policies. We stand opposed to the recognition of the People's Republic of China. She does not conform to the required standard of international conduct and continues to assert her sovereignty over Taiwan. Tn our opinion there is no movement by Communist China away from these attitudes, which would justify recognition. The mere admission to membership of the United Nations, unless on the basis of acceptance of the continued United Nations membership of Taiwan, would not satisfy the second requirement. Communist China has the means at her disposal. If she chooses not to use them, then let her accept responsibility for her continued position of international isolation.

Senator Cavanagh - We suffer.

Senator GAIR - Senator Cavanagh says that we suffer. 1 should like him and other people who share his view to tell me the advantages which will accrue to Australia by recognising Red China. I cannot understand how this motion could have been accepted, in the first place, as an urgency motion and, in the second place, by virtue of the fact that it is out of order - 1 do not mean so far as the Standing Orders are concerned - in the matter of sequence. Recognition of Red China can take place only following a determination by the United Nations that that country qualifies for admission to the international community.

Suggest corrections