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Wednesday, 30 October 1974
Page: 2177

Senator WOOD (Queensland) -We have heard a lot of tripe this evening.- The gripe we had from Senator Hall is consistent with his usual gripy-type speeches. I was surprised to hear the Minister for Repatriation and Compensation, Senator Wheeldon, speak as he did because Senator Wheeldon- made1 statements indicating that Senator Hall has occasionally voted with the Labor Government. If one looks at the records one will find th'at Senator Hall has voted mostly with the Labor Government and rarely with the Opposition. Regarding the matter of the Constitutional Convention I think it is right that if the Opposition is: to have? representatives on that body it should have the right to select those members. Senator Wheeldon referred to the Senate,Select Committee on Securities and Exchange and said that the (Democratic Labor Party . had a member on that Committee^ .It should be remembered that the DLP had 5 senators in this, chamber at that time. The position then was entirely different to the situation we now h"ave: where -one person in- this chamber represents another segment of politics. To suggest that one person rates the same as 5 people in selecting -

Senator Poyser - Senator Townleywas made a chairman of a committee on the honourable senator's vote.

Senator WOOD - If the Opposition desires to elect somebody, that is a matter for the Opposition. But for the Government to say that the Opposition must have a person, a single honourable senator in this chamber, as a member of its delegation I think is entirely wrong. As far as the situation is concerned, I think the 'Australian' took a wrong view. As a matter of fact, over a period of time the 'Australian' has shown an attitude towards the Senate which indicates that it has not a true assessment of the Senate and its work. Its editorial is in accordance with the warped mind which a number of editors, such as the editor of the 'Australian', has evidenced over some time in relation to the Senate. There is no question that the recognised principle is that the Opposition has the right to select who represents it at such things as this Constitutional Convention.

Senator Poyser - What happened to the shareholders in Nicklefield?

Senator WOOD - Does Senator Poyser like to cast personal reflections?

Senator Poyser - No, but the honourable senator might like to explain it.

Senator WOOD - The honourable senator is casting personal reflections in relation to a matter which is entirely outside this subject. I advise him that my record is clean. I believe that the correct principle is that if delegates are being sent to any institution, organisation or convention by the Opposition, then the Opposition has the right to select whom it desires to go there. I do not think it is the right thing for the Government to say that an individual outside the official Opposition should go if the Opposition does not feel that that person should represent it. That is a simple answer to the question. Because the Government might like to make a pay-off to one of the members of the Parliament because of the patronage which has been extended to it by that member, that is no reason why this Opposition should fall for such a trick by the Government.

Senator STEELEHALL (South AustraliaLeader of the Liberal Movement)- Mr President, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The PRESIDENT - Does the honourable senator claim to have been misrepresented?

Senator STEELE HALL - Yes. Senator Wood has raised the basest of all motives and has attributed that motive to the Government and to myself. He said in closing words to the effect that the Government had made a pay-off to someone who had given it patronage. That is a base remark. It is untrue. It is a complete misrepresentation and an utter falsehood concerning the position.

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