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Tuesday, 3 April 1973
Page: 1022

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MacKellar - Order! The honourable member will refer to honourable members by their electorate.

Mr NIXON - Far be it from me to depart from your ruling but I was quoting from the list of speakers as provided by

Mr Keogh - I rise to order.

Mr NIXON - As provided by the honourable member for Bowman.

Mr Keogh - The honourable member for Gippsland was attempting to defy your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker. I note now that he has acceded to your request.

Mr NIXON - The honourable member for Bowman had his name on the list but obviously, being a good friend of the Minister for Services and Property, he was not intending to rise. The fact is that whilst there are 17 or 18 Opposition members ready to rise and tell the Minister that he was wrong in what he said when introducing the Bill, to point out all the misleading statements he made in his speech and what is wrong with the Bill he has introduced, there are no more Labor members on the list who are prepared to get up and defend him. Or are they in the know? Do they know that the Minister intends to gag this debate, that he is going to gag democracy? One can well remember the great speech made in this House by the honourable member for Brad field (Mr Turner) recently in relation to televising the proceedings of the Parliament when he referred to democracy and Parliament, and his personal explanation today. I think it is true to say that the Minister is wanting to make this place a forum for Labor Party performance and to use Parliament as a rubber stamp. We on this side of the House cannot accept that. I think that Government members who have their names on the list should be given their rightful opportunity to speak and I do not think that the Minister who made all those misleading statements in such a blatant political speech should be permitted to get away with them for a moment. That is why I have moved for the suspension of standing order 93.

The honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) is very keen to support me I know because he, as I do, feels hurt that of all members in this Parliament this Minister should propose such action. I can recall the great speeches he has made in the past in support of the Parliament and democracy but here tonight he is wanting to gag the people's representatives in the Parliament. It is a thorough shame. He ought to be ashamed. The Minister is red faced; probably he is thoroughly ashamed of himself. This is the third incident we have seen recently. The AttorneyGeneral announced that he wanted to set up his own political FBI and we have the Prime Minister holding Press conferences outside and making major announcements to the Press rather than to the people's representatives in this chamber. This is the last straw - the Minister for Services and Property wants to gag democracy and gag the Parliament.

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