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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 881

Mr BRYANT (Wills) (Minister for the Capital Territory) - Mr Clerk,we have just heard Parliament's own Brutus in action. Stab people in the back and then spend 10 minutes or so praising them. What manner of men are these? For 2 years we have watched them destroying this institution, making it impossible for the Speaker to handle question time and turning the place into a rabble. Who are the principal performers? One is none other than the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair), the Deputy Leader of the Country Party. In the 19 years that I have been in this Parliament I do not know of any behaviour that measures up to the hypocrisy, the vandalism and the plain parliamentary sabotage of which all Opposition members are guilty.

Tonight I have the opportunity to name the principal performers. I have named one. Another is none other than the Leader of the Country Party (Mr Anthony), the principal saboteur of parliamentary democracy in Australia, a man who will go to any lengths to prevent us from having decent parliamentary elections where all people's votes count equally and a man who at every question time in this House will use his capacity and his special position to break up question time so that no longer can there continue one of the important traditions of this Parliament, namely, that Ministers stand here and answer in the public place and be heard publicly. So they made the life of Mr Cope a continual misery in his efforts to make this Parliament work in the way that it always had. The same criticism applies to the Deputy Leader of the Country Party. How is it that Australia is inflicted with 2 men like this at this time? How is it that we have these people leading the Country Party- I will not prostitute the English language by saying the once great Country Party'- that political rump that ruins Australian politics with all its antics and its claims?

We are here this evening to choose a successor to Mr Cope. Honourable members opposite used every way possible to humiliate and annihilate him as the Speaker of this House. There was no better example of it in the whole 2 years in which we have been in Government than today. Tonight we are nominating for the position, the highest honour that this Parliament can bestow upon one of its members, the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes). We have all known him well and liked him a lot since he entered this Parliament. He is one of our principal parliamentary activists. He is a man who knows the Standing Orders and he can look at rules. He can tell when a rule will not work. I give members of the Opposition some advice: Do not try to put some of your tactics and your trickery over the honourable member for Corio. He has had a long experience in public affairs in Geelong, which is his home town. He was prominent in the trade union movement in Victoria. He has the full respect of the Labor movement of Australia. This evening I have great pleasure in seconding the motion that he be elected to the position of Speaker of this House.

Before I sit down I shall say just one or two things about some of the matters raised by the Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party. He said that he wanted this House to operate on the principles that the Opposition holds dear. What principles? The Opposition is totally undemocratic in all its procedures. We watched members of the Opposition for years use this Parliament as their own private forum. They trampled upon every part of parliamentary tradition. They use their forces now in another place to make absolutely sure that we cannot conduct proper democratic elections in Australia. But even worse than that, for the last 20 years they have been the principal architects of McCarthyism in this country. They have smeared and assassinated the character of many thousands of people. In the last few weeks we have had character assassination continued even here. It is supported by silence from the people opposite. The principles they hold dearundemocratic practices, McCarthyism and character assassination- have no place in our Austraiian Parliament.

I respect the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles). We will not hold it against him that he is one of the old boys of that redoubtable institution, the home of democracy and keen, rabid and radical spirits, the South Australian

Legislative Council. We will not hold it against him, but we have seen him here. We respect him. We admire him, and if it is all right to say so in this company, we like him. But ever since he came to this place he has been part of the machinery opposite.

The Clerk - The Minister's time has expired.

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