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Thursday, 2 December 1971
Page: 4081

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) - A move:

Omit paragraph (c), insert the following paragraph:

(c)   nine other Ministers of the House of Assembly appointed by the Ministers of the House of Assembly, but such appointments shall not become effective unless and until the House of Assembly has, by resolution, approved the appointments; and'

Let us be perfectly clear. What the Government is proposing is neither the Opposition's philosophy not the Government's philosophy. The Government has arranged a system whereby the 17 Ministers of the House of Assembly will chose what obviously will be the most important Minister, the Deputy Chairman of the Administrator's Executive Council - in effect, an incipient Prime Minister. If the Government were following its philosophy the Deputy Chairman would choose his inner Cabinet. The Minister would say, quite rightly, that under the Government's system the Prime Minister chooses his Cabinet. But the Government does not provide that in the House of Assembly the key Minister, the Deputy Chairman, will choose the Executive Council. It provides that the Minister for External Territories, in consultation with the Administrator who will consult with the Deputy Chairman, will chose the members of the Executive Council. That is not providing for the Government's philosophy for selecting the Cabinet.

We are not asking for the Opposition's philosophy for selecting the Cabinet. The Council will be chosen by the Minister for

External Territories. There will be 17 Ministers. We ask that those 17 Ministers choose the inner Executive - the Administrator's Executive Council. That is not our system; the Labor Party does not have provision for a Ministry choosing an inner Cabinet. Our Ministry would be elected by the whole parliamentary Party. What we are asking for is not our system. We are asking that, where the Select Committee on Constitutional Development and the House of Assembly are silent, the Government adopt the same system of selection as that specifically recommended for the selection of the Deputy Chairman. The Select Committee recommended that the 17 Ministers should appoint the Deputy Chairman. The Select Committee was silent on the selection of the other Ministers; it probably overlooked that. We ask that the 17 Ministers who are fit to choose the Deputy Chairman choose the other 9 Ministers. Following the recommendations of the Select Committee and the House of Assembly, the Government has provided that the House of Assembly shall approve, the appointment of the Deputy Chairman. We say that the House of Assembly should approve the appointment of the other 9 Ministers.

The honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt) gave to the Government's proposal the status of something that had been recommended by the Select Committee and the House of Assembly. I again draw his attention to the Minister's statement. The Minister stated:

The Select Committee report was silent on the method of choosing the Minister to sit on the Administrator's Executive Council.

We cannot be validly accused, as we were of ignoring what the Select Committee has recommended. There is a silence, a void, which the Minister proposes to fill in one way and we propose to fill in another. Our method of filling it is analogous to their recommendations for the Deputy Chairman. I believe that their responsible action in choosing their own Administrator's Executive Council is a unifying thing.

There was a great undercurrent of bitterness that I experienced in conversations with members of the House of Assembly of Papua New Guinea about the method by which Executive Council Ministers were chosen. Let me give 2 specific examples. Mr Oala Oala-Rarua had devoted, I suppose, more than a decade to the problems of labour in Papua New Guinea. He had organised certain unions. He had spoken publicly on all sorts of labour questions. There was an expectation that he would be chosen as the Ministerial Member for Labour, instead of which he was given another portfolio. Mr Toua Kapena was chosen as Ministerial Member for Labour. I do not want to be seeming to criticise Mr Toua Kapena, but it is simply an historic fact that he had never said a thing on labour, on the conditions of workers, just terms of wages or employment conditions in the whole of his career. The belief was that he was chosen for this position simply because he would not be a nuisance. Some of the members of the House of Assembly believe that he was chosen as a Ministerial Member for Labour precisely because he had no philosophy of labour. I do not want to make that accusation; I merely say that if expatriate officials - the expatriate Administrator and the Minister for External Territories - are to choose who is to be on the inner executive the charge will inevitably be made that they were chosen because they were acceptable - tame, if you like-

Mr Hurford - Yes-men.

Mr BEAZLEY - And put into the Cabinet. I do not believe that the Minister would choose yes-men. I am not sure that he would choose some of his major critics, but I do not believe that he would choose yes-men. But in any event I feel that at this stage of history he should not be choosing at all. There are 17 Ministers who are perfectly capable of choosing their most significant member as Deputy Chairman. If the Government followed its own philosophy the Deputy Chairman would then choose his nine colleagues as the Prime Minister does. But the Government does not follow that philosophy. The Government has the Administrator as an expatriate figure doing it in conjunction with the Minister for External Territories. This is retaining, at a stage of history when we do not feel it is necessary to retain it, the authority of the Canberra Government in the selection of personnel in another Cabinet, the Administrator's inner council. Neither I nor the Minister can claim in what we are proposing the authority of the Select Committee. Neither of us can claim in what we are proposing the authority of the House of Assembly. The Government has left

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