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, 20 November 1974
Page: 2566

Senator WOOD (QUEENSLAND) - By way of short preface to my question I should like to say that a judge of the New South Wales courts to whom I was speaking some time ago said that whenever Senator Murphy appeared before him as counsel he always had a very well prepared brief. In view of this I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate: Is it not a fact that this ability of his to prepare a good brief is being stretched to the utmost in presenting a hopeless case that the Government did not create inflation and unemployment in Australia? It has been stated that some of the economic mess in this country is due to the obstruction of the Senate. Can the Leader of the Government mention one Bill of an economic character which has been thrown out by the Senate? In view of the statement that New Zealand is a perfect example of a Labor government's running a country without obstruction, has he seen the Bank of New South Wales Review', No. 12, of October 1974, which states that indicators now point to a sharp contraction of the New Zealand economy in the second half of 1974, that business confidence has been declining steadily in recent months and that signs of weakening in the labour market are apparent?

The PRESIDENT -Order! Standing order 99 provides:

Questions shall not ask-

(a)   for an expression of opinion;

(b)   for a statement of the Government's policy: or

(c)   for legal opinion.

If Senator Murphy can answer the question without transgressing the standing order he may proceed.

Senator MURPHY - I will endeavour to do so. Senator Wood first disarmed me with a compliment and then said that it is an impossible brief. I do not think that there is any difficulty about the matter at all. However learned a judge the honourable senator spoke to, there is a greater judge in Australia. That judge is the Australian people. Recently the Australian people had the opportunity to judge the value and capacity of the 2 contending political parties in Australia and decided that the Australian Labor Party ought to be entrusted with the future of the Australian people for another 3 years. As the honourable senator would be aware, the people of Australia are entitled to have everybody observe the umpire's decision. They are also entitled to have those who are in there batting given a fair go. The honourable senator's Party had the chance for 23 years and did so badly that it was tossed out when international difficulties were arising. Senator Wood put that it was incorrect that the previous Government was responsible for inflation. In one sense the international difficulties were already arising. There was some inflation all around the world. I have referred before to what was said by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development- I think that the quotation is in Hansard- about the onset of inflation in Australia which occurred well before the Labor Government came into power.

The honourable senator referred to New Zealand. Only yesterday the Deputy Leader of his own Party held up New Zealand, which has a Labor Government, as an example of how well a country could be run, how well inflation could be curbed and how well unemployment could be kept to a minimum. All this Government does is to ask the Opposition to give it the same kind of opportunity as is given to the New Zealand Government; that is, for the Government to be allowed to put through the legislation it wants, without obstruction, and to receive co-operation from those who are sitting in Parliament. I am asked for instances of legislation that has been obstructed by the Opposition. There is a whole series of it. The Opposition opposed the proposals to amend the Constitution to enable the Government to deal with prices and incomes. The Opposition fought against it outside and in this chamber. It fought against and delayed for 12 months quite unnecessarily the trade practices legislation although everyone knew that effective trade practices legislation is one of the best weapons against increasing inflation. The Opposition fought against the attempts of the Government to achieve amalgamation of unions to prevent demarcation disputes and to bring some real rationalisation into the industrial area. In these ways and in many other ways we have been obstructed. If one wants to know about the obstruction all one has to do is turn up the record of the Senate to see an unparalleled performance of frustration and obstruction of a duly elected government of the people. I now ask that further questions be placed on notice.

Senator Davidson - Mr President,I take a point of order. I draw your attention to standing order 100 which provides:

In answering any such question, a senator shall not debate the matter to which the same refers.

I submit that today there has been an excessive amount of debate by Ministers in their response to questions, and honourable senators have been prevented from seeking information.

The PRESIDENT - I shall bear that in mind next day.

Suggest corrections