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Thursday, 3 May 1973
Page: 1680

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) - I would be the last person to want to be unfair to the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly). I think we should acknowledge that under his leadership of the House there have been some improvements. I think we would all want to put that on record. I would not want to be unfair to him in the slightest, but I feel that this motion is not in itself so much ill conceived as it is evidence of a well conceived plan. We are to be asked in these last few weeks to pass important and controversial measures. I know that a lot of unimportant measures have been put through. More time should be available for debate on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill and more time should be available to debate prices justification, off-shore minerals and statements which have been made in this House by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and noted for debate and about which there are many controversial aspects. Apparently we will not be given an opportunity to debate them.

Much more importantly than that, the whole of our foreign policy is being changed, and there has not been a major debate in this House on foreign policy. It looks as though, under the truncated program, there will not be one. Many honourable members would have liked to have said something about the Government's nuclear adventures with France and the lack of its nuclear adventures with Communist China. We would have liked to have had a chance to discuss these things in detail as they are really important. What is more important is the drift of our foreign policy to the left and the way in which Australia has been made to change sides in the world scene. This was not put forward during the election campaign. People had no idea that they were voting on this. This is one of the most important things that has happened in Australia's history.

Dr Jenkins - I rise to a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I direct your attention to the remarks of the honourable member. They seem to be irrelevant to the subject matter before the House and I think he is out of order in making them.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Armitage - I do not think there is any substance in the point of order.

Mr WENTWORTH - Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am simply trying to list the more important things which we will not have the chance to debate under the Minister's proposal. 1 gratefully acknowledge the fact that in some respects the procedures in this House have been improved but surely, in place of the gag and the putting through in the last stages of important measures inadequately discussed, we should be prepared to sit for a longer time, that is, to sit for an extra week or two. Let us have time to discuss these important matters.

I put this to the Minister. I know that it is very difficult for him to say anything in this House which has not been vetted and approved outside this House. I do not expect the Minister to be able to give his own honest opinion. Of course not. I do not expect him to say what he thinks frankly or to make a decision of his own will. Decisions are made outside. He sits there at the table looking benevolent. He sits there looking like the aging Faust in the first act waiting for somebody to give him the right kind of drink, and then he will do to democracy what Faust did to Marguerite.

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