Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 3358

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Leader of the House) - The speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) sounded to me like a deathbed confession. All night the Leader of the Opposition sat here while those around him attempted to disrupt and to stop the proceedings of the Parliament on this issue. Now, with all the pathos and drama of a saviour of the nation the Leader of the Opposition comes forward and says, 'We will cooperate'. Let me tell the honourable member that we do not want his co-operation. Government supporters attend- the Parliament. They can suspend Standing Orders without his assistance and, unlike members of the Opposition Parties, when it comes to voting on great issues we do not have only 46 members here; we have our full complement.

The Leader of the Opposition revived an earlier debate. I read out the speech that he made in that debate, and showed how what he said on that occasion exploded his own theory. He now argues: "There is a constitutional doubt about the passing of this Bill, but we will help to save the Government. Will you re-commit the measure?' He was trying to save something from the wreck caused by the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) and the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) this evening when they came in here - one of them a second grade lawyer and the other a disrupter - and tried to disrupt the whole proceedings.

Mr Speaker,you have the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and the effectiveness of a machine gun in certain circumstances. The Opposition found that out tonight. Now they are trying to introduce a suggestion that what happened was not right. On a great constitutional issue earlier today the Opposition demanded more time for debate, for time to be made available right up till Christmas, but by acting in a completely unparliamentary way it showed it was not willing to debate this issue in the Parliament now. This is all subterfuge. Members of the Opposition are ashamed because they will not let the Australian people decide the issue. They are afraid. They will not let the Australian people hear the various views on the matter and express their own opinion on it.

Now honourable members opposite slink out of the House like mangy dogs, unwilling to stand up and take their medicine after throwing inuendoes at you, Mr Speaker, and at members on this side of the Parliament. Who leads them out? The prospective Prime Minister of Australia, they tell me. He threw mud all over the Government a moment ago, and now will not stand here and take his medicine. Why did not the Leader of the Opposition take part in this debate and try to stop his own supporters from disrupting it in every way? I do not intend to read again the earlier proceedings of the Parliament which proved that what I said is right. A division must be called for by the Speaker. That was done on the motion for the third reading of the Bill, and 64 members voted for it. As far as I am concerned, the Opposition can take the matter to any court in the land. All that the court will ask is: 'Was there an absolute majority of the Parliament in favour of the Bill?' The records will show that 64 members voted in the affirmative.

I am just about sick and tired of second class lawyers in the Opposition trying to tell the people of this country what the law is and what it is not. Undoubtedly if an inquiry is wanted, it is into how lawyers get their fees. After hearing the lawyers opposite tonight, it is no wonder that the gaols of Australia are full. I should imagine that the Leader of the Opposition would have more clients in gaol than any Queen's Counsel in the history of this country. He cannot understand the records of the Parliament; he will not take notice of them; he will not take notice of the Senate proceedings; he will not take notice when he reads his own name in the list of those who voted on a previous occasion as I have indicated. Yet the Leader of the Opposition now comes into the House and suggests that the Bill be recommitted. He says: 'We will co-operate; we will be good.' It would be the first time ever if the Opposition did that.

The situation is that the Government does not beg for mercy from this Opposition. By God, we will be desperate if we ever want its assistance. We will be right down. Let members of the Opposition go out and tell the people that they are going to challenge this Bill constitutionally. Not only in the Parliament do they oppose it, but also outside the Parliament they seek to prevent the Australian people from having a say on these issues. The Opposition will not let the people who sent them here decide a particular question. They have taken every tactical and rotten point in an endeavour to stop them from doing so.

Mr Street - We want it decided properly.

Mr DALY - The honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street) reminds me of the mouse that roared. He has been silent all night. Now at the last minute he is awake. Why do not members of the Opposition come into this Parliament and vote on the Bill? Tonight they said that no honourable members called for a division. They know well that members who intend to vote for a motion cannot call for a division. Mr Speaker, in your wisdom you did what every Speaker before you has done. You called for a vote on the matter and then decided that the votes of those who were in favour of the motion would be counted. Thus the constitutional requirement was fulfilled.

I am completely unmoved by the Leader of the Opposition's saying that he will co-operate. Let me tell him again - we do not want the co-operation of the Opposition to suspend Standing Orders, for members of the Australian Labor Party in this House do what they are paid to do. They come here and vote. They are not squirming away to their businesses, their interests and to those they protect, unlike the result opposite with a miserable turn-up of the Opposition benches of only about 45 members out of a possible 58. Every member of the Opposition ought to have been in his place tonight, because they are all pretty well paid to be here. Therefore, this business of the Leader of the Opposition's coming in late with a great, dignified approach does not move me. His own Deputy Leader insulted the Speaker tonight. This is the Deputy Leader who aspires to be Deputy Prime Minister. He would not apologise to the Speaker for his conduct. Also tonight a former Minister acted like an over-educated larrikin and had to be put out of the House. What sort of conduct is this that has been going on all night? Sitting opposite me at the moment is a member of the Country Party, a former Minister who, I have no doubt, will get up in a moment and say that honourable members have not had enough time to debate the Bill. Yet for the last hour and a half the Opposition has wasted every available second of the time of this Parliament in a disgraceful display.

I have suggested to the Prime Minister in all seriousness tonight that in future when we are entertaining distinguished guests in this place, in order to protect the Parliament from the sort of conduct that we have seen tonight he had better make it an apple juice show, because we cannot put up with this kind of thing. It is bad enough that members of the Opposition acted as they did this evening, but the worst thing is that the Government bought it. I do not hide the fact. I know what steamed up the members of the Opposition. I know what caused their conduct tonight. I know also how reprehensible it was. It was disgraceful the way members of the Opposition went on, and I repeat that I am completely unmoved by what has been said.

Suggest corrections