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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2183

Mr NIXON (Gippsland) - I second the amendment. My reason for so doing is because of the activities of Government supporters when in opposition and the proposals that they put to the people last year in the election campaign. The Opposition at that time contested the election campaign on open government. It tried to make a distinction between itself and the government of the day by saying that in government it would allow proper and frank debate on all issues that came before the Parliament. It pretended that there had been no opportunity for proper debate on many vital matters. The simple fact is that since the elections and since the new Government came into office the people of Australia have seen that they were duped, that open government does not prevail at all and that in fact proper and frank debate is being prevented. I think that the reactions of the people in 3 by-elections in New South Wales demonstrate that the new Government has certainly lost a great deal of glamour throughout Australia. I think this view will be fortified by the results of the elections in Victoria on Saturday, and indeed the Gallup poll which came out last week also will be fortified by those results. The Government understandably is quite nervous about this but, stupidly, is doing nothing about it. The actions of the Government are contrary to what it put to the people at the last elections. The architect of all this is, of course, none other than the Minister for Services and Property and Leader of the House (Mr Daly). Everyone in this House knows the reason why the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) chose the Minister for Services and Property to be Leader of the House. He was put there simply to clown and amuse and to keep the faithful in order. The Government could not have chosen better.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I do not think that those words are very complimentary. They should not be used.

Mr NIXON - No, they are not complimentary, but they are not unparliamentary. The Minister stands in this House day after day, turning to his audience and telling sneering jokes at the expense of the Opposition. I warn new members of this Parliament they will find that after a few weeks of this the sense of humour of the Leader of the House palls. If they look through Hansard they will find tedious repetition of the same type of humour having been brought before this Parliament week after week, year after year, for the some 20 years which the Minister has spent in the House. The second reason why the Prime Minister appointed him Leader of the House and Minister for Services and Property is that he has nothing to do apart from trying to gerrymander the electorates. I have recounted this to the House before. The simple fact is that when I was Minister for the Interior I would handle in15 minutes to 20 minutes at the week-end the amount of legislation and business deals that the Department of Interior had to cover. The situation has not changed since then. The Commonwealth Gazette proves that by carrying details of the numbers of pieces of paper that the Minister has signed. He must beflat out getting something to do.

Seriously, the facts are that we have before us today some very important legislation. We have, in fact, received the first piece of nationalisation legislation from this Government. We know that the first plank in the Labor Party's policy is the democratic socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and there is no question that the Pipeline Authority Bill is a vehicle for the socialisation program of this Government. Therefore it requires proper debate. The other Bills before the House are of equal importance. They include the Prices Justification Bill. Here we have a Government which has been sponsoring inflation with all its mad action through the period of weeks that it has been in power, and now it is setting up a prices justification tribunal and we are not to be permitted proper debate on it.

The 2 other Bills are of vital importance to the States of Australia. Once again the Minister is deliberately trying to prevent proper debate on them. I submit in all seriousness that the Minister ought to consider his position in this matter and go back to the Prime Minister, who once made the statement that he was a Prime Minister one could trust. Mark you, nobody else has said that about the Prime Minister; he bad to say it himself in the House. The Minister ought to go back to his great and revered leader, the Prime Minister, and make this appeal to him: 'Let there be common sense. Let there be, as the Labor Party promised at the last election, frank and proper discussion on these matters of great and vital moment to the nation'. I second the amendment of the Opposition to this motion.

Question put:

That the times proposed to be omitted (Mr Lynch's amendment) stand part of the question.

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