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Wednesday, 11 December 1974
Page: 3454

Senator STEELE HALL (South AustraliaLeader of the Liberal Movement) (12:15 PM) - by leave- I am sure that Senator Murphy in closing the debate was in essence replying immediately to the questions which were put. I envisaged that yesterday I would attend this House and vote to give the Opposition the full opportunity to debate the issues which had been very well publicised over the weekend. I was very greatly surprised yesterday when the House was not called upon to enter into that debate. The only proper way for the Opposition to attack the question and to attack the Government was to do so directly, by putting its case to the Government and asking for a direct reply to its charges. This has not been done. Yesterday as an observer of tactics I was staggered to find the Opposition retreating from its obligation following the publicity of the weekend. Not knowing the rights or wrongs of the matter I find it even more strange tonight, at a time when there is no possibility of answering the charges which are made in such volume, that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Greenwood) raised them by innuendo. I do not offer an opinion on the charges; I have not been given the basis of them by the Opposition and I cannot. Therefore my position as one who would have helped- I would have had a vital vote in this House- is that I am left just as ignorant of the charges as I was last weekend. I say this of the Opposition: It really dropped the ball in a very big way in the light of its responsibility to its claim. The Opposition's standards have not been raised by Senator Greenwood 's remarks tonight.

In speaking to the valedictory message on the adjournment let me say that, wherever I can, I leave this sort of message to my deputy. However, in this House I do not have a deputy and I wanted to rise and say how much I appreciated making contacts in my first session in this House. I thank both sides for the assistance they have given me in getting the legislation through. I look forward to the work next session. I have liked this one so much that I intend to come back.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Webster) I accept the remarks that have been made by the Leaders of the Parties and by honourable senators. I accept their thanks to the staff of the Senate. I know that the feelings embrace everyone who works within the Senate to make it the efficient chamber that it is. On behalf of the President I thank the Senate. I know that the man in whose position I act at the present time would have me wish you all a most pleasant Christmas and a very healthy and bright opening to 1975.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Senate adjourned at 12.18 a.m. to a day and hour to be fixed by Mr President.

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