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Wednesday, 27 October 1971
Page: 2641

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) - I would like to put some sanity into the debate tonight. We have just heard the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) complain and criticise the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) for going overseas. If the Prime Minister did not go overseas to meet world leaders the honourable member for Sturt would complain that the Prime Minister just sits in the Parliament or stays at home when he should be around the world seeing world leaders to see what he can do for Australia.

Mr Foster - I rise to order. I did not go crook because the Prime Minister went overseas. I went crook because he left so many things undone before he went.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER - -Orderl There is no substance in the point of order.

Mr TURNBULL - The Prime Minister has gone overseas to do what he can for Australia. From what has been said today it is my opinion that the Prime Minister should have the goodwill of all Australians for the success of his mission. We should not have the criticism which we have heard tonight, which does not mean a thing. Furthermore, we have just had a debate regarding aid for Pakistan. During that debate it was stated that Australia is one of the richest countries in the world, but almost immediately the honourable member for Sturt gets up and says how bad things are in this country; how this country itself is practically starving. 1 think this is altogether wrong. I do not think I would be contravening the Standing Orders if I answered something the honourable member for Sturt said about a certain man.

Mr Foster - You speak to the Acting Speaker, not to me.

Mr TURNBULL - I am not speaking to you. Something was said about a certain man fasting outside the front of the House. It appears to me that this man is going about it in the wrong way. If I were running a campaign of that kind I Would have a table out there. I would have any amount of food and wine on the table and some well dressed men sitting at the table. I would display a notice stating: 'We have plenty of money and food in this country; what about those who have not?'. That would show the contrast between our various positions. The honourable member for Sturt has said that a challenge has been issued to honourable members on the Government side regarding wool, etc. 1 put out a challenge here today to honourable members on the Opposition side. I challenged them to take the honourable member for Sturt over to the other side of the chamber, put him among Labor members and put up with him. I also asked some time ago - I have been very patient; honourable members know that - why should I be the one who has to occupy (his hot seat. It was said to me by a very loyal member and a friend of mine in the Labor Party: 'Why don't you get ear muffs?' After all, it is very hard to put up with what I have to put up with all the time. Although the honourable member was called to order today, there are these undertones. There was reference to 'a lot of clots' on this side. Our members are being insulted all the time. Of course I must be lenient with the honourable member for Sturt because he is only a new boy in this House. Ever since I came here 25 i years ago I have endeavoured to do two things.

Mr Daly - You have been here too long.

Mr TURNBULL - Yes, too long for members of the Labor Party. I know that. I realise it is too long for them because I can answer the questions. If it were not for honourable members who have been here for years and years, the honourable member for Sturt would get away with all sorts of things. But I know what happened when Labor was in office. When Labor was in office and since we have been in office I have always said that I fight in this House for policies, but never do I enter into personalities unless I am annoyed to the extent that I have been by the honourable member for Sturt, and then I do so only for self-preservation. I like to hear the debate that is going on. I try to hear the debate that is going on. I listen very carefully but it is beyond anybody's power to hear the debate when this racket is going on all the time here. It is a bit of a joke; I will admit that. I am not going to be hurried. I have been here long enough to accept all the interjections when I get up to make a speech. I just go on quietly and when the din dies down I proceed. 1 rose tonight mainly because of the remarks about the Prime Minister going overseas. Through you, Sir, I want to put something to the honourable member for Sturt very definitely. Most members of the Opposition are saying: 'The Government is in its last term. It will be defeated'. I have been listening to this for 22 years. I have heard it said: 'The Government will be defeated. It is no good'. As soon as an election was over and the present Government was back on the Treasury benches someone on the Opposition side would say: If we only had the chance of an election now we would defeat the Government'. Do the honourable member for Sturt and other members - I do not say all members - of the Opposition, think that all Australians are foolish? Do they not realise that we have had a lot of elections in 22 years and that in this democratic country the people have had every opportunity for putting the present Government off the Treasury benches and that the Labor Party has had every opportunity to occupy the Treasury benches? Why did this not take place? This is the question that members of the Opposition must put to themselves.

Mr Armitage - Who got most of the votes?

Mr TURNBULL - Someone asks who got most of the votes. Under the Constitution of this country we do not work in that way.

Mr Daly - I raise a point of order. The honourable member is speaking about the majority of votes, but he was elected on the minority vote last time. He did not get SO per cent of the votes.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance in the point of order.

Mr Keogh - It was a good point though.

Mr TURNBULL - It was a very poor point for the simple reason that I had a Liberal opponent.

Mr Armitage - Oh!

Mr Daly - Now we are getting it.

Mr ACTING SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Chifley will cease interjecting.

Mr TURNBULL - Had his votes been counted with my votes I would have had my normal majority of 10,000 or 12,000 votes. That is the fact. Members of the Opposition cannot put up a case by using only half the facts. Let me put this to the House very definitely-

Mr Cope - Did you get a 'subnormal' vote?

Dr Gun - Do bushels of wheat get a vote?

Mr TURNBULL - All this sort of talk goes on. I am not concerned with these interjections. Opposition members are trying to be smart but their behaviour does not add any dignity to the Parliament. I am here to say to honourable members opposite and especially to the honourable member for Sturt that they would do a lot better if they kept off personalities and stuck to policies. After all, this is what this Parliament is for. This behaviour happens sometimes on this side of the House, too. I am not going to say that those on this side of the House do not do it. When I conclude someone will rise and try to make some play of what I have been saying. Honourable members opposite can do that if they like. Those who have been here for the number of years that I have been a member know that I have never dealt in personalities or criticised anybody personally. Under no consideration have I done that. If we all adopted this principle, this Parliament would be a better place. It would be a better place to represent the people of Australia. It would be a better place to bring forward legislation to build the nation.

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