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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 3385

Mr KING (Wimmera) - The constitutional measure presently before the House are the simple reason why the Opposition will find it difficult to get back into government again. The electorates will be so gerryman dered that we will not be able to get back into government again.

Mr Giles - It was a panic speech.

Mr KING - That is true, it was a panic speech by the honourable member for EdenMonaro (Mr Whan) who is very worried. My colleague the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Fisher) rightly raised a point of order when the honourable member was speaking but you, Mr Deputy Speaker, ruled against the point of order. The honourable member for Mallee referred to the fact that what the honourable member for Eden-Monaro was trying to do was to put over an early policy speech in an endeavour to convince the people that he is looking after their interests when, in actual fact, I believe that he is selling them down the drain.

I rise to discuss some important issues that I believe should be raised in this House because of the interest that is shown in them outside. They are important issues about which I am sure many Australians are very concerned. I commence by referring to a couple of questions which I asked the Prime Minister (Mr Whitiam) last week and which he refused to answer. It was only through constant pressure from members on this side of the chamber and, in particular, from my colleague the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) who took a point of order that the Prime Minister reluctantly got up and gave part of an answer to the question that I asked him. Many people will guess what I am talking about. I am sick and tired of hearing members of the Government say that they have a mandate for this and a mandate for that. In relation to everything they want to introduce into this chamber they say: 'We have a mandate for it'. What is a mandate? Do members of the Government believe that everything that was mentioned by every Labor Party condidate at the last election was accepted by all the people and that therefore they can legislate in respect of it? What a mandate really means, in the broad, is that if a party is elected to government it can implement the broad policies of that party - not every little issue that it has put up.

The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) referred to a 3 per cent interest rate for primary producers. Where is that? There is a mandate. Why does he not implement that policy? An honourable member refers to abolition of probate duty. That is another issue. One could go on for some time discussing these things. I believe that the Prime Minister has not got a mandate to introduce a lot of the things that he is introducing, including changing the national anthem. I want to refer to this matter in passing because people outside this House who have not got a voice directly in it are certainly complaining very strongly about any possible change in the national anthem. It is true that the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) has on the notice paper under general business a notice of motion dealing with this question, and therefore I am excluded from going into the details of it.

All I want to say is that I agree with the motion that is to be moved by the honourable member for Warringah, and I am certain that millions of people outside this chamber also agree with it. I am only hoping that an opportunity will be given to the honourable member for Warringah to bring this matter on at an early date. We cannot afford to take the risk of moving into the Christmas recess without discussing this matter. It should be discussed, and I appeal to those honourable members who have notices of motion on the notice paper ahead of the notice of motion of the honourable member for Warringah to consider withdrawing their notices of motion so that he can discuss this important matter and certainly bring it before the House.

Over recent weeks, as a result of statements made on this subject by the Prime Minister, I believe that people have been stirred up. I was very surprised to hear the Prime Minister, in answer to my question recently, say that there has been some synthetic indignation stirred up in the last week or so. Why was this synthetic indignation stirred up? It was stirred up for the simple reason that the Prime Minister announced that we would have a poll of a handful of people - less than one-half of one per cent of the Australian people will get a voice on this question. What about the other 99i per cent? After all, we are living in a democracy. This is the thing that the Government talks about.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Berinson - Order! The honourable member himself has anticipated that he is unable to proceed to discuss a question that is listed on the notice paper. Notice of motion No. 1 1 under general business refers precisely to the point that the honourable member is now discussing at some length. I ask him to leave that subject.

Mr KING - Mr Deputy Speaker,I will refer to the Prime Minister's recent trip to China. I have here a letter from an individual who is somewhat perturbed at some of the statements, which were made in China recently. Without divulging who this person is - if any honourable member would like to see the letter confidentially I am prepared to show it to him - I will read the letter because I believe that it is of great interest and importance. Referring to the Prime Minister's statements, this person said:

I was also disgusted that he asked the Chinese people not to play 'God Save the Queen'. I think its time the Prime Minister realised that - he represents all the people of Australia and not just himself. I am sure the Chinese would hold loyalty to one's own country, which includes its flag and anthem, above petty personal feelings.

Because of his lack of respect for our anthem in China, I state quite bluntly that he did not represent me, and I hope that it will not be long before this arrogant buffoon-

Mr Fisher - What did he say?

Mr KING - 'Arrogant buffoon' are the words that appear in this letter.

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