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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1888

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I want to say a few words because Senator Rae said that he was summing up for the Opposition.

Senator McAuliffe - Mr President,-

The PRESIDENT - Senator Cavanaghrose just before you did, Senator McAuliffe.

Senator McAuliffe - I will bow to you but I think -

The PRESIDENT - Order, senator.

Senator McAuliffe - . . . that an apology would be in order -

The PRESIDENT - Order! This is not the first time -

Senator McAuliffe - . . . because, Mr President -

The PRESIDENT - Order ! Senator McAuliffe, please resume your seat. The Presiding Officer calls that honourable senator whom he first sees. Prior to Senator Poke getting to his feet and before Senator Rae got to his feet, Senator Cavanagh had been on his feet. He rose at the same time as you and therefore I called Senator Cavanagh. I shall call you immediately after Senator Cavanagh.

Senator McAuliffe - Thank you, Mr President.

Senator CAVANAGH - I had no desire to compete with my colleague. I would have yielded willingly -

Senator McAuliffe - I thought the Minister might be closing.


The PRESIDENT - Order! No, I proposed the motion for the adjournment of the Senate.

Senator CAVANAGH - I would have been willing for Senator McAuliffe to speak before me but I thought that I would leave sufficient unsaid and it would be possibly better for Senator McAuliffe to speak after me so that any mistakes or imperfections of mine could be corrected by my more capable colleague who could assist me. Senator Rae said that he would sum up. But it is obvious that in attempting to sum up he did not get to the debate at all but went into other accusations. We travelled all around, from Mr McCaw originally to, I think, Senator O 'Byrne looking at strip-tease in Kings Cross and there was some suggestions of crooked deals with Senator Poke in Tasmania. This is all because there is no answer to Senator Gietzelt 's accusations. Senator Gietzelt made very serious accusations against a Minister of the Crown in New South Wales. They were so serious that those who spoke in opposition thought it shocking that such serious accusations should be made. They acknowledged that they were serious accusations. If there are serious accusations against a Minister of the Crown I think that a member of Parliament has a responsibility to make them public. But honourable senators, after admitting that they were serious accusations, said that they were raised for the purpose of some publicity on the eve of an election.

Are we to have a moratorium on corruption? Are we to let corruption go on because there is a State election? When we obtain knowledge of those serious accusations, and knowledge that someone is doing something underhand which is not his public duty, should we let him continue without exposing him because there is an election pending? Should there be a free and open go on crookedness just because an election is pending somewhere? Now we come to the other point. If there is a desire to use this information for an election purpose, is there not a responsibility on a member to make this plain before voters innocently decide how to cast their vote as to who their representative will be without knowing of the activities of a certain candidate? Should they know about it? Is there not a responsibility, if it is on the eve of an election, to show this? If Senator Gietzelt is successful in getting a good Press it will be unusual. There is more of a chance with an adjournment debate at 7 o'clock when there are no fights in the other place. Members of the Press come here in the hope that Senator Wright will misbehave- as he sometimes does- and that they will be able to report him. But if Senator Gietzelt has succeeded and there is some malpractice on the pan of an individual who is a candidate for an election, what is wrong?

Should we not seek a full Press coverage to expose malpractices? We have a responsibility to show them up. The accusation was that the investigations were pulled off a group of companies. Everyone knows the companies are corrupt. It was suggested that there should not be this investigation because something might come out before the election. These are plain points which should receive wide publicity, even if it is for the purpose of an election, because we should not support corruption getting into our Australian Parliaments. I think Senator Gietzelt had a responsibility to speak. I think he had a duty to those who believe in honesty and decency. Getting back to the issue, the Opposition speakers rose to condemn Senator Gietzelt. They admitted the seriousness of the charge, there was no denial of the accusations and no question that there should not be an inquiry. To say 'You should not bring it up because it is so near an election ' is simply rubbish.

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