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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1374

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (Wannon) - One of the more unfortunate characteristics of the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) is that he gets so much obvious pleasure in behaving like a jackboot. This is precisely what he is doing now. There was a perfectly appropriate arrangement between the Opposition and the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) in respect of this legislation. It was being taken quietly and we had approached this Bill in a constructive and thoughtful fashion, seeking to move a large number of amendments which would have improved the Bill. The Minister for Labour has acknowledged this by indicating that he would accept a significant number of those amendments. But the reasons for those amendments need explaining and the intervention of the Minister for Services and Property has not improved the situation to which the Minister for Labour and I referred earlier. In fact on this particular measure there was and still is a clear division between the Leader of the House and the Minister for Labour because the Minister for Labour has made it quite plain 'that he wanted this debate to continue in a sensible fashion. The Minister for Services and Property has made that utterly impossible by coming in ham fistedly with his numbers on this occasion. It is no excuse to say that on a previous occasion in respect of a different Bill a certain number of hours were allowed. This is a different Bill and it needs to be debated in depth and debated properly. The record that ought to be remembered in this area is that when my colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) introduced a Bill to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act that Bill was debated for over 20 hours. When an entirely different measure was introduced in a different and emotional environment in that autumn session it was debated for over 11 hours. Now there is to be a debate of less than 5 hours on one of the most important pieces of legislation which the Government could possibly have introduced. This is quite inadequate and the phoney statistics of the Minister for Services and Property do nothing to advance his cause. Indeed the fraudulent references that he makes to 1968, 1969 and 1970 have no relationship of any kind to what is happening at the present time.

Mr Hurford - Why not?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - If the honourable member had paid any attention to what happened in those years he would know why.

I suggest that he should look up the record for himself. The Minister for Services and Property has sought to use the fact that there were a number of members on this side of the House who showed an interest in this Bill during the second reading debate - and who I believe made reasonable contributions to the debate - and the fact that Government supporters all remained seated during the second reading debate as an argument against the continuation of this debate in a sensible manner. Now I suppose that Government supporters will rise throughout the Committee stage to prevent the Opposition moving amendments that we need to put and to prevent expressions of view on clauses of the Bill that we need to oppose and that we will oppose in another place. One of the unfortunate things that will occur as a result of the actions of the Minister for Services and Property is that without the slightest doubt this behaviour will be noted in the Senate. There is not the slightest doubt that if the Government is going to behave in this way in this House the Senate will look very closely at the measure to ensure that in that place it is given the detailed consideration at the Committee stage which the Government is now making impossible but which I know the Minister wanted to achieve if he was able.

Mr Gorton - He is a reasonable man.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Yes, he is a reasonable man but because of the actions of the Minister for Services and Property-

Mr Gorton - He has acknowledged our improvements to the legislation.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Yes, he has acknowledged that we have improved this legislation. There are more than 80 clauses in this legislation, which consists of 27 pages. It is one of the biggest measures the Government has introduced. The best service that the Minister for Services and Property could have provided would have been to stay away because his deputy was managing the House with a good deal less heat and a good deal more common sense.

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