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Wednesday, 29 September 1971
Page: 1669


Mr JESS (La Trobe) - I would hate to disappoint the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James), who, with his usual charm, made what perhaps to him was a logical progression through the argument in favour of the amendment which has been proposed, but I would hasten to assure him that I am not one of those people who are going to support it. What I did take exception to, and I am sure just about every Australian would take exception to, was the inference at the end of his speech that some Australian servicemen returning from Vietnam would be victims of drug addiction. .


Mr James - There must be cases.


Mr JESS - I am sure it would take little to convince the honourable member that there were because I am sure he wants to be convinced that there are. But I have been assured by responsible people in the

Ministry - indeed, by everyone to whom I have spoken - that there has been no such case. With the confidence I have in our young national servicemen, I accept that assurance regardless of what the honourable member for Hunter may infer. The honourable member also referred to the great tragedy caused by drug addiction. I would not know how this subject would fit into a debate on this provision, but the honourable member spoke on it for some considerable time. He said that the members of this Parliament with a medical background would know of the great tragedy caused by drugs. I thought it was the policy of some members of the Australian Labor Party, particularly those in the medical profession, that certain drugs should be legalised in this 0011:1117. The legalisation of marihuana has been spoken of by the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass).


Mr James - I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman. At no time has any member of the Opposition said or implied, either inside or outside of this Parliament, that dangerous drugs should be legalised.


Mr JESS - I did not mention dangerous drugs. I mentioned marihuana.


Mr James - The honourable member never mentioned it at all.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- .Order 1 would remind the honourable member for La Trobe that the debate is at the Committee stage and that We are considering a clause of the Bill. I appreciate that the honourable member for Hunter did move into another area.


Mr JESS - He did, indeed. I thought you allowed him to do so, Mr Deputy Chairman.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- I would ask the honourable member to return to the clause before the Committee.


Mr JESS - Could I conclude my remark by saying that members of the Opposition who are in the medical profession-


Mr Uren - I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman. My point of order is that the honourable member for Hunter was relating his remarks on drugs to the possibility that national servicemen who are conscripted to serve in Vietnam could become addicted to them whilst in that country. However, the honourable member for La Trobe's remarks about the honourable members on this side of the House who are doctors have no relationship to the Bill which is before the Committee.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- 1 did allow the honourable member for Hunter to move into this area, but I have asked the honourable member for La Trobe to revert to the subject matter of the clause before the Committee.


Mr JESS - All I am trying to say in respect of drugs and conscription is that there appears to be some people in the medical profession who are encouraging the legalisation of certain drugs which, if the remarks of the honourable member for Hunter are true, must have some effect on the persons taking them. The main point of the honourable member's speech, which he was not impeded in making, seemed to be that the sons of poor families went to war and the sons of rich families did not. I do not remember the honourable member being disturbed on this issue. I would like to point out that it is the catch cry of the Australian Labor Party that one is not a worker if one does not vote for that Party. The Labor Party would have been in office long ago if every worker voted for it. It is quite understandable why they do not.

There is no proof whatsoever that the majority of national servicemen who go to Vietnam are the sons of so-called workers. That is purely the belief of the honourable member for Hunter. It is a political argument. I know many blokes who have gone to Vietnam who are the sons of, if you like, rich men. But who in this country is not a worker? Who in this country does not work? Does one have to be a brainless nit like some people I know who set the standard of what a worker is? Does one have to be like the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster)? I should think that the majority of workers would not want to be.


Mr Foster - I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman. 1 want a withdrawal of that remark and its stinking inference. I have just as much grey matter as the honourable member for La Trobe has in his skull; that is for sure. I want a withdrawal of that remark, Mr Deputy Chairman. What is more, I am entitled to it.


Mr JESS - I wish to speak to the point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman. I said 'if the typical worker is similar to the honourable member for Sturt'.


Mr Foster - I want a withdrawal of that remark, Mr Deputy Chairman.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett) - The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. I ask the honourable member for La Trobe whether he was referring to a particular member of the House when he made that remark?


Mr JESS - I thought I was being flattering to the honourable member for Sturt in saying that if he typifies the worker in this country-


Mr Foster - I rise again, Mr Deputy Chairman. I am entitled, am I not, to a withdrawal of that inference?

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order!


Mr Foster - Deal with him, for God's sake.


Mr JESS - I if I may be abject, indeed I think it is an exaggeration. I do not think he is typical of any worker in this country. Furthermore, Sir, if I may revert-


Mr Foster - Mr Deputy Chairman-

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - The remark has been withdrawn.


Mr Foster - I have not heard it being withdrawn and I am not that deaf.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- It has been withdrawn.


Mr Foster - I am suggesting that what he said was offensive. He should not have entered into the debate because he is not speaking on the matter which is before the Committee.







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