House of Representatives
21 February 1978

31st Parliament · 1st Session

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The House met at 1 1 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.

The Clerk read the proclamation.

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The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputy of the Governor-General for the Opening of the Parliament requested the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Honourable members attended accordingly, and having returned)

The Deputy authorised by the GovernorGeneral to administer the oath or affirmation entered the chamber.

The Clerk read the commission authorising the Right Honourable Sir Garfield Edward John Barwick, G.C.M.G., Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives.

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The Clerk laid on the table returns to 124 writs for the election of members of the House of Representatives held on 10 December 1977.

The following honourable members made and subscribed the oath or affirmation of allegiance:

Adermann, Albert Evan, Fisher, Queensland

Aldred, Kenneth James, Henty, Victoria

Anthony, John Douglas, Richmond, New South Wales

Armitage, John Lindsay, Chifley, New South Wales

Baillieu, Marshall, La Trobe, Victoria

Baume, Michael Ehrenfried, Macarthur, New South Wales

Birney, Reginald John, Phillip, New South Wales

Blewett, Neal, Bonython, South Australia

Bourchier, John William, Bendigo, Victoria

Bowen, Lionel Frost, Kingsford-Smith, New South Wales

Bradfield, James Mark, Barton, New South Wales

Braithwaite, Raymond Allen, Dawson, Queensland

Brown, John Joseph, Parramatta, New South Wales

Brown, Neil Anthony, Diamond Valley, Victoria

Bryant, Gordon Munro, Wills, Victoria

Bungey, Melville Harold, Canning, Western Australia

Burns, William George, Isaacs, Victoria.

Burr, Maxwell Arthur, Wilmot, Tasmania

Cadman, Alan Glyndwr, Mitchell, New South Wales

Cairns, Kevin Michael, Lilley, Queensland

Calder, Stephen Edward, Northern Territory

Cameron, Clyde Robert, Hindmarsh, South Australia

Cameron, Donald Milner, Fadden, Queensland

Cameron, Ewen Colin, Indi, Victoria

Carlton, James Joseph, Mackellar, New South Wales

Cass, Moses Henry, Maribyrnong, Victoria

Chapman, Hedley Grant Pearson, Kingston, South Australia

Cohen, Barry, Robertson, New South Wales

Connolly, David Miles, Bradfield, New South Wales

Corbett, James, Maranoa, Queensland

Cotter, John Francis, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Dawkins, John Sydney, Fremantle, Western Australia

Dean, Arthur Gordon, Herbert, Queensland

Dobie, James Donald Mathieson, Cook, New South Wales

Drummond, Peter Hertford, Forrest, Western Australia

Edwards, Harold Raymond, Berowra, New South Wales

Ellicott, Robert James, Wentworth, New South Wales

Everingham, Douglas Nixon, Capricornia, Queensland

Falconer, Peter David, Casey, Victoria

Fife, Wallace Clyde, Farrer, New South Wales

Fisher, Peter Stanley, Mallee, Victoria

FitzPatrick, John, Riverina, New South Wales

Fraser, John Malcolm, Wannon, Victoria

Giles, Geoffrey O’Halloran, Wakefield, South Australia

Gillard, Reginald, Macquarie, New South Wales

Goodluck, Bruce John, Franklin, Tasmania

Graham, Bruce William, North Sydney, New South Wales

Groom, Raymond John, Braddon, Tasmania

Haslem, John Whitton, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Hayden, William George, Oxley, Queensland

Hodges, John Charles, Petrie, Queensland

Hodgman, Michael, Denison, Tasmania

Holding, Allan Clyde, Melbourne Ports, Victoria

Howard, John Winston, Bennelong, New South Wales

Howe, Brian Leslie, Batman, Victoria

Humphreys, Benjamin Charles, Griffith, Queensland

Hunt, Ralph James Dunnet, Gwydir, New South Wales

Hurford, Christopher John, Adelaide, South Australia

Hyde, John Martin, Moore, Western Australia

Innes, Urquhart Edward, Melbourne, Victoria

Jacobi, Ralph, Hawker, South Australia

James, Albert William, Hunter, New South Wales

Jarman, Alan William, Deakin, Victoria

Jenkins, Henry Alfred, Scullin, Victoria

Johnson, Leonard Keith, Burke, Victoria

Johnson, Leslie Royston, Hughes, New South Wales

Johnson, Peter Francis, Brisbane, Queensland

Johnston, James Roger, Hotham, Victoria

Jones, Barry Owen, Lalor, Victoria

Jones, Charles Keith, Newcastle, New South Wales

Jull, David Francis, Bowman, Queensland

Keating, Paul John, Blaxland, New South Wales

Killen, Denis James, Moreton, Queensland

Klugman, Richard Emanuel, Prospect, New South Wales

Lloyd, Bruce, Murray, Victoria

Lucock, Philip Ernest, Lyne, New South Wales

Lusher, Stephen Augustus, Hume, New South Wales

Lynch, Phillip Reginald, Flinders, Victoria

MacKellar, Michael John Randal, Warringah, New South Wales

MacKenzie, Alexander John, Calare, New South Wales

McLean, Ross Malcolm, Perth, Western Australia

McLeay, John Elden, Boothby, South Australia

McMahon, James Leslie, Sydney, New South Wales

McMahon, William, Lowe, New South Wales

McVeigh, Daniel Thomas, Darling Downs, Queensland

Macphee, Ian Malcolm, Balaclava, Victoria Martin, Vincent Joseph, Banks, New South Wales

Martyr, John Raymond, Swan, Western Australia

Millar, Percival Clarence, Wide Bay, Queensland

Moore, John Colinton, Ryan, Queensland

Morris, Peter Frederick, Shortland, New South Wales

Neil, Maurice James, St George, New South Wales

Newman, Kevin Eugene, Bass, Tasmania Nixon, Peter James, Gippsland, Victoria O’Keefe, Frank Lionel, Paterson, New South Wales

Peacock, Andrew Sharp, Kooyong, Victoria

Porter, James Robert, Barker, South Australia

Robinson, Eric Laidlaw, McPherson, Queensland

Robinson, Ian Louis, Cowper, New South Wales

Ruddock, Philip Maxwell, Dundas, New

South Wales Sainsbury, Murray Evan, Eden-Monaro, New

South Wales

Scholes, Gordon Glen Denton, Corio, Victoria

Shack, Peter Donald, Tangney, Western Australia

Shipton, Roger Francis, Higgins, Victoria Short, James Robert, Ballarat, Victoria Simon, Barry Douglas, McMillan, Victoria

Sinclair, Ian McCahon, New England, New

South Wales Snedden, Billy Mackie, Bruce, Victoria

Staley, Anthony Allan, Chisholm, Victoria

Stewart, Francis Eugene, Grayndler, New South Wales

Street, Anthony Austin, Corangamite, Victoria

Thomson, David Scott, Leichhardt, Queensland

Uren, Thomas, Reid, New South Wales

Viner, Robert Ian, Stirling, Western Australia

Wallis, Laurie George, Grey, South Australia

West, Stewart John, Cunningham, New South Wales

Whitlam, Edward Gough, Werriwa, New South Wales

Willis, Ralph, Gellibrand, Victoria

Wilson, Ian Bonython Cameron, Sturt, South Australia

Yates, William, Holt, Victoria

Young, Michael Jerome, Port Adelaide, South Australia

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The Clerk:

– Honourable members, the next business of the House is the election of a member as Speaker.

Mr N A Brown:

-I propose to the House for its Speaker Sir Billy Mackie Snedden, the right honourable member for Bruce, and move:

That the right honourable member for Bruce do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

Mr Calder:

– I second the nomination.

Sir Billy Snedden:

– I accept the nomination.

Leader of the Opposition · Oxley

I propose the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and move:

That the honourable member for Scullin do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

Mr Bryant:

– I second the nomination.

Dr Jenkins:

– I accept the nomination. (The time for further proposals having expired)

Mr N. A. BROWN (Diamond Valley)-Mr Clerk, it is an honour to propose as Speaker of the House the right honourable member for Bruce (Sir Billy Snedden). When I was invited to propose Sir Billy Snedden as Speaker, I decided to examine the qualities and requirements of the Speaker of the Lower House in our system of parliamentary government. Mr Philip Laundy in his book The Office of Speaker, says that the following should be the qualifications of the Speaker:

He must have an intimate understanding of parliamentary life, of the problems of Members collectively and individually, of the moods and foibles of the House … an experience which can be acquired only through many years spent on the benches of the House itself. Above all he must have a deep-seated reverence for the institution of Parliament, a sincere respect for its traditions derived from a deeper understanding of what lies behind the outward ceremony, and an unshakable faith in democratic government. The technicalities of parliamentary procedure can be learned from textbooks. But the ability to identify oneself with the spirit of the House . . . which a Speaker must surely do since he and the House are inseparable- depends upon long service as a Member. The House therefore likes its Speakers to be men of mature ageold enough to have acquired a solid background of parliamentary experience but young enough to hold out the promise of some 1 0 to 1 5 years ‘ service in the Chair.

There is no doubt that the right honourable member for Bruce has all of these qualities. He certainly has an intimate understanding of parliamentary life. He has been a member of this House continuously since his first election in 1955. During that time he has been an active parliamentarian, and was for two periods Leader of the House. Through his tenure of that office he acquired an intimate knowledge of the workings of Parliament and the competing interests and problems of governments on the one hand and private members on the other. That experience equipped him well as the guardian of the interests of the Parliament and its members, which the Speaker must be above all else. His experience as a parliamentarian is equalled by his experience in government. He has held the office of Attorney-General, Minister for Immigration, Minister for Labour and National Service, Treasurer and Leader of the Opposition.

Sir Billy Snedden is a distinguished lawyer, a Queen’s Counsel who was appointed as Attorney-General by our greatest lawyer statesman, Sir Robert Menzies. The office of Speaker is judicial in nature and its occupant must have judicial skills. In Sir Billy Snedden the House will benefit from the analytical skills and judgment of an eminent Queen’s Counsel- and at a much lower cost than the going market rate. Despite this wealth of experience in Parliament, government and the law, the most elquent testimony of his fitness to occupy this high office is the high quality of his own Speakership during the Thirtieth Parliament. He administered the office with an admirable display of the two great qualities of a good Speaker- dignity and impartiality. All of us who were members of that Parliament remember the good humour, patience and firmness with which he carried out his role.

The election of Speaker in a parliamentary democracy is no empty ceremony. There are few parliamentary democracies left in the world, and those that remain are under continual challenge. The Speaker is the embodiment of the parliament, with all its rights and privileges and all of the trust and responsibilty conferred on it by the people. So we need as Speaker a person who can champion the rights of Parliament courageously and without fear or favour. Apparently it has always been so, and it has always been difficult to find Speakers. I noticed in the textbook to which I referred that seven Speakers of the House of Commons have been beheaded. It is little wonder that traditionally the Speaker has been reluctant to take the Chair. It is commendable that Sir Billy showed such modesty in accepting the nomination today. Today, more than ever before, the Speaker must champion and defend the rights of the freely elected Parliament. Only a Speaker with a wealth of experience and a sincere commitment to parliamentary government can carry out that task. I believe that the right honorable member for Bruce is more than qualified to carry out this trust and responsibility, and I urge all honorable members to support his nomination.

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley-Leader of the Opposition) Mr Clerk, one looks back over the years with fascination, especially at the election of a Speaker in the Parliament. It is but two short years ago that the right honourable member for Bruce (Sir Billy Snedden) was proposed as Speaker for the House of Representatives. On that occasion his virtues were extolled, with almost as much saccharin as they were today, by the then honourable member for Hotham, who is no longer here. I expect that the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr N. A. Brown) is hoping that there is no precedent in that experience. Looking over the years is fascinating because we have discovered the importance of providing a choice in the election of Speaker for this institution. I believe that on every occasion on which nominations for Speaker have been called- certainly during the period of nearly 1 7 years I have been in this Parliament- the Australian Labor Party has nominated one of its members for the very important position of Speaker.

From time to time we have been gratified to find not only that our judgment has been supported, predictably, by all members of the Opposition but also that we have garnered the occasional additional vote from the Government side. Indeed, on one occasion when the Labor Party was in office, the Labor nominee was able to achieve the position of President of the Senate because he enjoyed not only the popular support of members of the Labor Caucus in the Senate but also sufficient popular support from members of the coalition parties then in Opposition. So it is a very important principle that we should extend this opportunity to exercise choice to all members of the House. It would seem that from time to time members of the Government are particularly keen to exercise that choice.

The Opposition proposes the honourable member for Scullin as Speaker. He is a man with long service in two parliaments- 9 years in the State Parliament of Victoria and 8 years in the Federal Parliament. He has served as Chairman of Committees. By his service in this Parliament he has shown that he is a man who displays maturity of judgment and is not given to precipitate action. When he has undertaken certain courses of conduct, on all occasions he has had the most unusual experience of enjoying complete support from members of the Caucus. That is an indication of the sorts of qualities that he distinctively bears. He has reflected a vitality of interest in this institution and, more importantly, he has shown an independence of judgment in discharging his responsibilities to the Parliament on those occasions when he has occupied the Speaker’s chair.

I want to dwell for a few seconds on the very important point of that independence. It is absolutely essential that we should have a strongwilled, independent but fair-minded occupant of the position of Speaker in the House of Representatives. In fairness I must say that the right honourable member for Bruce, during the two years that he occupied that very important office, sought hard to establish exactly those qualities. It is unfortunate that that achievement was reached with some unevenness. It seemed to me that from time to time he was intimated by the rather domineering personality of his Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I hope that in the course of this Parliament the right honourable member for Bruce, if he is elected as Speaker, will display that thoroughgoing independence which would be the quality displayed by the honourable member for Scullin if he were to occupy the Chair.

That independence on the part of the Speaker is absolutely essential if the rights of the members of this Parliament are to be protected and, more importantly, if there is to be respect for the independence and the importance of this institution within our democratic system. It means that the Speaker must not be a polarising influence in the Parliament. I regret that the right honourable member for Bruce in fact has undertaken certain actions which would tend to polarise attitudes in the community. I felt some embarrassment when I discovered that he has appeared from time to time as an advocate in the Industrial Court. I hope that the salary and remunerations received by the Speaker will be lifted to such a level as to exclude the necessity for the right honourable member for Bruce undertaking that sort of activity on any future occasion should he be elected to the Speakership. I regret that he has seen fit to write in newspapers political articles which have canvassed prejudiced political points and anticipated discussion of legislation in the Parliament. That sort of thing is divisive and lowers in the minds of the members of the public the respect for and the standing of the office of Speaker in this Parliament.

I might mention that if the right honourable member for Bruce is to protect the rights of individual members of this House he should cease making the very heavy imposition that he has made on the research services of the Parliamentary Library, especially the legal research service. The result has been that private members of parliament have not been able to obtain the sort of service to which they are entitled. The honourable member for Scullin is adequately equipped to fulfil the role of Mr Speaker. Accordingly, I have moved that he do take the chair of this House as Speaker.

Northern Territory

-I rise to support the nomination of Sir Billy Snedden as Speaker of this place. First of all I remind the House of the actions of the predecessor of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) towards a former Speaker. The Leader of the Opposition spent much time belittling the man whose nomination I have had the honour to second. It was very apparent during the Thirtieth Parliament, the last Parliament, that Sir Billy Snedden had the qualities which were mentioned by the proposer. He had every one of them and even more. He displayed firmness, tolerance and humour. I might say that during that Parliament fewer members than before were denied the privileges of the House. One knew from observing Sir Billy Snedden in action and from hearing him conducting the business of the House from the Chair that he was fair, straight and honest.

Mr Stewart:

– Why did you not support Phil Lucock?


– That has nothing whatsoever to do with this matter. I continue my remarks in support of Sir Billy Snedden. The honourable members on both sides of the House derived benefit from the attributes which he displayed. He has an outstanding legal background and despite the snide remarks of the Leader of the Opposition regarding the use of the Parliamentary Library and so on, he brought that knowledge to bear with great effect in this chamber. He finished the thirtieth Parliament as one of the most outstanding Speakers. I have the privilege and honour to second his nomination as Speaker at the thirty-first Parliament because I know he will bring those qualities to bear once again.


-I have great pleasure in seconding the nomination of my colleague, the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins). Whilst I do not withdraw many things from the qualifications espoused on behalf of the right honourable member for Bruce (Sir Billy Snedden) by my friend the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr N. A. Brown), I think I ought to remind the House that we are here today debating who is to chair one of the more useful democratic institutions still left in this society.

Let us consider some of the qualifications that were mentioned by my friend from Diamond Valley. He said that the occupant of the Chair had to have great respect for democratic government. How can any member of the Liberal Party claim to have any respect for democracy? He said that a deep reverence for the parliamentary institution was necessary. Turn back the record to the time when the right honourable member was Leader of the House and trampled on every right and liberty of every person in this place. How can he be independent? We have only to look at the fate of the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock) to see what happens if one is supposed to be independent. Anybody who says that the honourable member for Lyne was independent in his judicial position in this place has a quaint view of the meaning of the word ‘independent’.

I will say, though, to my right honourable friend from Bruce that over the two years he did bring some touch of discretion to the Speaker’s Chair. This Parliament needs a more discretionary power in the hands of the Speaker. He made some tentative steps in that direction but they were not enough. We are still too ready to apply the closure. I think the Speaker ought to be able to refuse to apply it. We are still under Executive domination. We are still in a position where we have only to look at the Notice Paper to see that at any time a Minister may move the closure of a debate. This Parliament, and this House in particular, is under Executive domination. It threatens all of us, not just honourable members on this side of the House. I hope the right honourable gentleman, if, by some error on the part of the majority of this House, he retains his position as Speaker, will do something about it. He will have to do something.

My friend from Scullin has provided guarantees in his past record that he will do something about the capacity to participate in this place where we all ought to be equal. I think the lack of resources for members of parliament and its committees is a matter to which we have to pay attention. As we know, when the right honourable member for Bruce was Treasurer he never gave a single thought to it and he is unlikely to do much about it while he is Speaker.

I second the nomination of my friend, the honourable member for Scullin, a man of great resource and infinite capacity. In fact, there is some resemblance between the two candidates for this position. They are both competent. They both have capacity. My friend from Scullin is a man of infinite capacity and the right honourable member for Bruce is capable of anything. The honourable member for Scullin chaired the inquiry into the committee system. He has given his guarantee that he brings to the task of Speaker attitudes to parliament which we all want to see carried on. I remind honourable members that when we make the decision about who is to chair this House, the Speaker takes the Chair in one of the more vulnerable legislative institutions in the democratic world. We are under constant threat. We may be dissolved at the caprice of the Governor-General. We have seen it happen. We can be repeatedly strangled- it has happened to both sides of the Parliament- by the Senate and we can be disposed of at the whim of the Prime Minister who can truncate the term of the Parliament. Therefore, we want in the Chair a person who understands and knows what democracy is about.

Both candidates came up the hard way. They worked hard. They achieved high academic distinction. The honourable member for Scullin is a Master of Science and holds the qualification M.B., B.S. He is a man who brings to this Parliament 17 years of experience in two parliaments. He brings to it the experience of belonging to a democratic political party which at least ensures that we will not be trampled on. He has a single vote in a party which respects the right of individuals to have their say. The great disadvantage that my friend the right honourable member for Bruce brings to the candidature is the fact that he is a pan of one of the more undemocratic parliamentary parties in what is termed the Western world.

The Clerk:

– In accordance with the Standing Order the bells will be rung and a ballot taken. (The bells having been rung and a ballot having been taken)

The Clerk:

-The result of the ballot is: Sir Billy Snedden, 82 votes; Dr Jenkins, 38 votes. Sir Billy Snedden is declared elected.


– (Right Honourable Sir Billy Snedden)- I wish to thank the House for the great honour it has done me. I appreciate it very much.

Prime Minister · Wannon · LP

– On behalf of myself and the Government I would like to offer to you, Mr Speaker, congratulations on your overwhelming victory in the election for the position of Speaker of the House. It is a tribute to your performance as Speaker during the last Parliament. Enough has been said already about that, but I think it ought to be noted, as I have indicated. I am quite certain that with the co-operation of all honourable gentlemen in this House we can look forward to three productive years under your chairmanship as Speaker. I am sure that it will be the purpose of all honourable members of this House to cooperate with you, Mr Speaker, in enhancing the dignity of this chamber. I again offer my warmest congratulations to you upon your election to the office of Speaker.

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley-Leader of the Opposition) Mr Speaker, of course it is not the first time that you have received reassurances and congratulations from the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I, too, would like to congratulate you on your election to this high and important office. In particular, I congratulate you upon obtaining a majority of the votes of the members of your own Party. In passing, I think I should acknowledge also the commendable result achieved by the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins). He received not only all 37 votes from the 37 members of the Australian Labor Party who are present. In fact, he received a total of 38 votes. I trust, Mr Speaker, that you will find this term of Parliament an interesting and stimulating one. I hope that it is a term of the Parliament in which you seek to bed in very firmly the principle of independence and those other very fine and important qualities of which the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr N. A. Brown) spoke and of which I spoke, as you will probably recollect, when I proposed the honourable member for Scullin as the Australian Labor Party nominee for the position of Speaker.

Minister for Trade and Resources · Richmond · NCP/NP

– On behalf of my colleagues in the National Country Party, I would like to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on again being elected to the very high office of Speaker of this House. I recall pointing out two years ago that you had the experience and the qualities to make an outstanding Speaker. Two years have shown that you have excelled in this position. Your re-election confirms the faith of the members of this House in your ability to exercise command over it and to dispense in an unbiased and unprejudiced way the authority you hold in that chair. I am sure that in the ensuing three years you will have the support of members of this House. I congratulate you and wish you well.


-Mr Speaker, as your opponent in the recent ballot I offer my congratulations to you on your return to the Chair. I believe that that re-election will give you much satisfaction. The honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr N. A. Brown) pointed out the experience that you have had in this place. In the two years of the last Parliament you showed that that experience had given you a feeling for the position of Speaker. As has been said, the position of Speaker has a long history and has much meaning for the ordinary member of Parliament. I would like a couple of minutes to comment on this aspect, Sir.

With the three years that you now have ahead of you, you can make a real contribution to the rights and privileges of members of this Parliament. One of the things that I hope will occur in those three years is that you will bring the Speakership to a level of independence where the Speaker is vested with far more discretion than the Parliament has seen fit to give up until now. We can talk about may areas where, if the Speaker were given discretion, there would be great benefit to members. One has to look only at Question Time in this Parliament. It is one of the dullest question times of any of the parliaments in the Westminster system. It could be altered by simply giving you a discretion to allowing supplementary questions which it is proper that the Executive should answer.

Mr Speaker, during the three years I hope that you will also be able to look at parliamentary procedures. Mention was made of the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System. I know that you are interested in seeing some of its recommendations carried out in order to make your task easier and to give more meaning to what the average member of Parliament is able to do. Perhaps the same should be said about you having discretion in relation to discussion of ministerial statements, various white and green papers and so on. It is true that Parliament spends more time discussing these matters, but it does so only when waiting to discuss other business. I would like to see you having discretion to determine whether debates on these matters should develop forthwith.

You showed during your last term an intense interest in associations of parliamentarians, both Commonwealth and international. I am sure that you would want debated in this Parliament the reports of the Australian delegations to the International Parliamentary Union and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. We send our members to these conferences and nothing happens. Yet matters are raised by parliamentarians and amongst parliamentarians which should be discussed. I think you, Sir, should have the initiative to see that they are discussed.

You showed an interest in the last Parliament in a new and permanent Parliament House. I hope you will continue that interest and agitate for better facilities for ordinary members of Parliament. Once more, the Executive seems to be shifting more and more staff to this building and taking up more and more space. I doubt that that is proper. I know the intolerable conditions that members and staff experience in this House. I refer also to ministerial staff. If this were not Parliament House, the conditions would constitute offences against health regulations and industrial regulations. As Secretary of my Party I have a room which occupies 156 square feet. It has to be shared by myself and a secretary and the records of myself and of the Labor Party. Knowing your interest, I trust you will continue during this Parliament to fight for those rights of members and impress upon the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) the needs which have arisen. I congratulate you once more. I thank my Party, including my nominator and seconder, for my nomination as Speaker.


-Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity to extend to you my warmest congratulations on your reappointment as the Speaker of this House. A certain phrase about life was supposed to have been used by a very distinguished gentleman. Perhaps I could use another phrase about life and say that parliamentary life is not always certain.

I offer you my congratulations. It has been a pleasure to work with you. There is one thing in particular that I would like to say at this time: This institution of ours is facing many challenges. The events of the last few days and the last few weeks have shown that Australia is playing a more and more important part in the lives of the countries that are close to us and also of countries that are more distant from us. Problems are being faced in regard to the European Economic Community. I opposed from the very beginning the move by the United Kingdom to enter the European Economic Community. I can remember at a conference in Kuala Lumpur speaking forcefully, but not successfully, against Britain’s entry. I think that that has placed more and more responsibility on to the shoulders of Australia and on to the shoulders of members of this House.

I would like to refer to the importance of the parliamentarian. I believe that you, Mr Speaker, have a complete and absolute appreciation of that importance. It is also important that the Chair should protect the Opposition. Some people may feel at times that the function of the Chair is purely to assist the Government. In this day and age, with some of the problems facing this country, bearing in mind the Government’s majority I sincerely believe that there is an even greater responsibility on the Chair to ensure that the rights of the parliamentarian are protected. I have no doubt that you, having been appointed Speaker, will see that that protection is given.

I would like to pass on to you my personal thanks and appreciation. It has been my privilege to serve under four magnificent Speakers, all four of them being distinguished, courteous and capable gentlemen. The present occupant of the chair matches the others under whom I have served.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

-As the longest serving member of the Australian Labor Party in the Parliament I have taken the unusual course of joining the leaders and the defeated candidate in rising to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, upon your election. You have been a very good Speaker. As I said during the closing stages of the last Parliament, you have been able to preserve the dignity of the Parliament; you have been able to preserve order without screeching your head off, just by looking important. It was once said that it would be impossible for anybody to be as wise as Sir Charles Lowe looked. I often think that it is impossible for anybody to be as fair as you look. Of course, you are not as fair as you look. It does not pay to be.

You must hear the same kinds of rumours as I hear around the corridors. They have died down since the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) won with a fairly good majority at the last election, but there was a time last year when he was starting to look sick politically, when people on your side were saying to me confidentially that they felt the time had come when they had to go back to Billy Snedden and ask him to lead the party again. That will certainly happen again, Sir. It may happen sooner than you expect. I hope that when it does you will rise to the occasion and remember, of course, that revenge is sweet. In the meantime, I should like you to do more than any other Speaker has ever done to protect the Parliament and its authority over the Executive.

Government supporters- Hear, hear.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I am pleased to hear approval from the other side of the Parliament on this matter. Our parliamentary system will collapse unless the Parliament asserts its right over the Executive, and in that respect we can look only to you, Mr Speaker. You are our voice in this Parliament. You are the one who has to uphold the final authority of Parliament over the Executive, and the only way to do that is to tell the Executive that the estimates of Parliament are a matter for the Parliament and not for the Treasurer to submit. Mr Speaker, you are the one who ought to bring and recommend the estimates for Parliament. You are the one who ought to decide what amount of money the Parliament should spend in order to carry out the functions of Parliament and the Parliament should tell the Executive what is the amount needed. The Executive arm of government should not be allowed to subvert the authority of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, I know you will be pleased that in this Parliament you will be ably assisted by the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock) as your Chairman of Committees. He was of tremendous assistance to you in the last Parliament and has already served under four Speakers. We can all look to the honourable member as being competent to carry on the high traditions which you have followed, and for that I congratulate you as well. I hope that you have a very successful career and that you work in close tandem with the honourable member for Lyne during the currency of this Parliament.


– I thank the House for the references that have been made. I think that the speech of the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr N. A. Brown) was very fair in its content and brilliantly delivered, and in that respect he was very ably supported by the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder). I thank the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) for his contribution, which is a valuable one. I am quite sure that the history of the last two years, during which time he and I were able to co-operate, will continue in the Thirty-first Parliament. Once again I must thank the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) for his advice. I appreciate it very greatly and am almost invariably influenced by it.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) had certain words to say. I regret that the honourable gentleman does not have the same understanding as I do of the independence of the Chair. I will say no more about his speech, but there is something I believe it is essential for me to say because I feel it very strongly and deeply. It is a great honour to me to sit in this chair, which is a replica of the seat of the Speaker at Westminster, the mother of Parliaments. The chair of which this is a replica was destroyed by enemy action when the House of Commons was bombed during the last war. This chair had come to us before that time and the chair that is now in the House of Commons is a replica of the original. We know from history that the House of Commons is some six centuries older than we are, and during those centuries a constitutional practice built up surrounding the office of Speaker. Conventions apply in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, but one significant convention does not apply in this national Parliament. Great reference has been made to it today, but in an indirect sense, and I want to make it clear that I am referring to it directly. That is the convention whereby the Speaker has continuity of office in that Parliament so that he not only may be impartial but also can appear to be impartial. The office itself can be seen to be impartial by the separation of the Speaker from all political party activity and from all business, legal and other activity outside the Parliament. That is not the convention we have in Australia; I regret it. In the meantime I believe that the person occupying this Chair must maintain his independence from the Executive and from any threat from the Opposition. That is what 1 intend to do and will continue to do so that I may in my own way be seen to be impartial and in fact be impartial.

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Prime Minister · Wannon · LP

– I have ascertained that it will be His Excellency the Governor-General’s pleasure to receive the Speaker in the Library of the Parliament this day at 2.40 p.m.


-Prior to my presentation to His Excellency this afternoon, the bells will ring for three minutes so that honourable members may attend in the chamber and accompany the Speaker to the Library, when they may, if they so wish, be introduced to His Excellency.

The sitting is suspended until 2.39 p.m. Honourable gentlemen will remain in their places until the Speaker has left the chair. That is the first rule we will establish for the Thirty-first Parliament.

Sitting suspended from 12.41 to 2.39 p.m. (The House proceeded to the Library, and, being reassembled)


-I have to report that, accompanied by honourable members, this day I proceeded to the Library of the Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of the House as its Speaker, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me.

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– His Excellency also presented to me his commission authorising me to administer to members the oath or affirmation of allegiance. I now lay the commission on the table.

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Mr Robert Cummin Katter made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the Division of Kennedy, Queensland.

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The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered a message that His Excellency the Governor-General desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate Chamber forthwith. (Mr Speaker and honourable members attended accordingly and, having returned)

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Prime Minister · WANNON, VICTORIA · LP

- Mr Speaker, I have the honour to inform the House that the Ministry was sworn in on 20 December 1977. 1 ask leave of the House to incorporate the full details in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-


– The document indicates that the first 14 Ministers comprise the Cabinet. It also indicates the representation of each Minister in the other chamber. The Government Whip is the honourable member for Bendigo, Mr Bourchier. I also wish to inform the House that the Minister for Special Trade Representations (Mr Garland) left Australia on 14 February for discussions in North America, Europe and the Middle East. He is expected to return on 15 March. During his absence the Minister for Trade and Resources (Mr Anthony) will act as Minister for Special Trade Representations, and the Attorney-General (Senator Durack) will act as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. In that respect Senator Durack will be represented in this chamber by the Minister for National Development (Mr Newman).

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Leader of the Opposition · Oxley

I wish to inform the House that I have been elected Leader of the Opposition by the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen). The Whip is the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) and the Deputy Whip is the honourable member for Burke (Mr Keith Johnson).

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Leader of the National Country Party of Australia · Richmond · NCP/NP

– I wish to inform the House that I have been elected Leader of the National Country Party. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) has been elected as my deputy and the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) is the Party Whip.

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Bill presented by Mr Malcolm Eraser, and read a first time.

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– I have to report that the House this day attended His Excellency the Governor-General in the Senate chamber when His Excellency was pleased to make a speech to both Houses of the Parliament. The speech will be included in Hansard for record purposes.

The speech read as followsSenators and Members of the House of Representatives:

It has been my good fortune that so early in my term of office, I have been able to perform two most significant tasks. Last week I welcomed the largest gathering of government leaders ever to meet in this country to the first Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting; and today is the first occasion on which I perform my constitutional duty of opening this Parliament as the Representative of Her Majesty The Queen.

This 3 1st Parliament assembles following general elections in which Australians have returned my Government with a majority surpassed only once before.

My Government’s resolve is strengthened by this decisive expression of the people’s conviction that the basic direction of the Government’s policies reflects their aspirations and interests.

After two years of hard work and substantial achievement, Australians now look to the future with new found confidence.

They know our nation’s prospects are limitless, and that by working together Australians can overcome the great challenges of unemployment and inflation and restore our nation’s economy to full vitality.

My Government rededicates itself to govern for all Australians and to work in partnership with all groups to build an Australia in which its people can have security, the knowledge that they can plan ahead with assurance, and that their efforts will be rewarded.

Its fundamental belief is that a better society can only be realised by giving the men and women of Australia a greater measure of choice, power and freedom.

This process has begun, as may be seen in my Government’s reforms in the areas of taxation, social welfare and its constitutional and legal reforms.

This commitment will remain the keystone of my Government’s approach to every major policy.

The Government’s Priorities

My Government’s priorities are clear. They are:

To build on the progress we have made in the last two years, defeat inflation and unemployment, and restore full economic health to our country.

To promote vigorously the development of Australia’s resources and enlarge our external trade.

To maintain the policies which have halted the excessive growth in Government bureaucracy and expenditure, and to continue the pursuit of greater efficiency and responsiveness by the public sector.

To revitalise our Federal system by cooperating with State and local governments, and giving them a greater measure of financial responsibility.

To provide effective assistance to the disadvantaged in ways that promote their independence and self-respect.

To promote and enhance the rights and civil liberties of every Australian.

To secure the defence of our nation and act as a positive force for world peace.

I turn now to the particular measures my Government proposes to bring before the Parliament to realise these goals.

The Economy

In the economy considerable progress has been made. Inflation has been sharply reduced; interest rates have begun to fall; Government spending has been brought under control; business investment is reviving strongly; the excessive tax burden has been relieved; and the more flexible regime for managing the exchange rate has already proved its worth.

This Government’s economic policies will continue to be based on:

Rigorous restraint of Government expenditure so as to provide for longer term expansion in the private sector.

A monetary policy which will enable a sustained growth in economic activity, and continue to bear down upon inflation- thus laying the only sound foundation for further reduction in interest rates.

Advocacy before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for wage restraint so that inflation can be further reduced and job opportunities expanded; and

Firm action to support Australia’s external economic position, including an active and ongoing programme of Governmental borrowing overseas.

My Government rejects the notion that there can be a trade-off between inflation and unemployment. It will continue to give the highest priority to reducing inflation, for only in this way can there be a sustained reduction in unemployment.

My Government will continue to place a high priority on employment and training schemes, particularly those which increase young people ‘s skills, and enable them to take job opportunities as they arise.

As a priority, the Commonwealth Employment Service will be made a more effective national manpower organisation, better able to help the unemployed.

My Government’s policies of lower taxation stem from a commitment to giving the individual a greater control over his own resources. Easing the tax burden provides incentive and stimulates initiative and general economic growth.

Substantial tax cuts have already been achieved through tax indexation, and the reforms of the tax scale which took effect from the beginning of this month.

As the next stage of tax reduction, legislation will be introduced to exempt all deceased estates and gifts passing between husband and wife, parent and child from Federal estate and gift duty as from 21 November 1977 and to abolish such duties altogether as from 1 July 1979.

My Government will continue to support industrial laws which protect the rights of individual unionists and which contribute to a just and orderly system of industrial relations.

A wider spirit of participation and employee involvement in the work-place will be encouraged so that employees and employers can co-operate to improve industrial safety, working conditions, job satisfaction and productivity.

Growth and Development

Essential to my Government’s economic program is the growth of Australian industry, the development of our resources, and a renewed emphasis on growth in exports. These hold the key to greater prosperity and the creation of more jobs.

The Government will continue to give manufacturing industry the protection it needs and, aided by the Australian Manufacturing Council, and by a study group under the chairmanship of Sir John Crawford, will formulate a co-ordinated approach for its longer-term development. Amendments to the Industries Assistance Commission Act will be re-introduced early in this Session.

A thriving and prosperous small business community is an essential part of a well-balanced economy. As part of the Government’s strategy of assisting small business, legislation will be introduced to enable the Commonwealth Development Bank to extend its lending activities relating to small business.

My Government intends, in co-operation with the States, to introduce legislation for an effective scheme for the national regulation of companies and the securities industry.

My Government has embarked on a major program to boost exports.

Increased access to overseas markets will be actively sought, and in particular my Government is determined to press for fair access to the markets of the major trading blocs.

My Government will examine the ways in which further processing of our natural resources can be undertaken in Australia. Legislation will be introduced to establish an effective export incentives scheme, and an Australian Overseas Projects Corporation to help Australian exporters compete for large-scale development projects overseas.

Encouragement of the North-West Shelf development and other natural resources projects will continue. Legislation will be introduced for a tax rebate scheme for shareholders subscribing funds for off-shore petroleum development and exploration.

Legislation will be introduced to enable the proclamation of an Australian fishing zone covering all living marine resources out to 200 nautical miles. My Government will also seek to conclude discussions with the States on the cooperative regulation of all other off-shore matters.

Domestic and international civil aviation policies are being completely reviewed. It is the Government’s desire that some lowering in air fares and freight charges on international air services should result. In the interest of protecting the travelling public, legislation will be introduced to licence travel agents.

The States will be substantially assisted in upgrading essential public services. Legislation will be introduced to provide further annual grants for the improvement of State railways, urban transport, roads and water resources. Work will commence on the upgrading of the Brisbane airport to international standard.

My Government is most conscious of the need to meet the challenge of present and future international shortages in energy supplies.

The Government’s decision to proceed with the development and export of uranium for peaceful purposes under the strictest safeguards will make a significant contribution to meeting the world’s future energy needs. This decision takes full account of the need to protect the environment and the interests of the Aboriginal communities. It accords with Australia’s international obligations and has given Australia an important voice in the world councils seeking to avert the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It has made possible the continuing valuable contribution made by my Government’s Ambassador at large, Mr Justice Fox, to this important issue.

A national energy conservation program will be carried out in association with the States, industry and interested groups. Increased research and development of new energy sources will be undertaken.

Rural Community

My Government believes that it is of vital importance to Australia’s interests that its rural community be strong and viable. High priority will be placed on assisting rural producers through the present difficult period. Drought has been, and in certain areas continues to be, of serious concern. My Government, in consultation with the States, is actively engaged in relief measures, and is working to identify how further assistance can be given to those worst affected.

The Australian Rural Bank will commence business this year and provide an important new source of financial support for rural industries.

A special program of assistance to beef producers is being undertaken, and, in this and other rural industries, my Government will examine ways to offset the uncertainties of export markets.

Legislation will be introduced in this Session, to subsidise the freight differential on petroleum products in country areas.

Social Policy

My Government is committed to a wide program of social legislation which will help those in need, increase opportunities, and bring about greater social justice. Fundamental reforms such as the family allowance, the supporting parents benefit, the indexation of pensions and benefits, and the reform of the means test, are already law.

In furtherance of this program, legislation will be brought forward to expand eligibility for the domiciliary nursing care benefit. Funding programs for the housing of the handicapped and aged will be extended a further year. Voluntary welfare agencies will be assisted in their emergency relief programs.

My Government is considering how the universal health insurance scheme might be further improved to provide a prompt and effective health insurance scheme which restrains increases in the cost of health care.

Measures will be taken to strengthen the capacity of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to counter illegal drug trafficking, and to coordinate more closely international measures to control this evil.

It is of paramount importance to my Government that our people be properly housed and have the opportunity to own their own homes. Accordingly, legislation will be brought forward early in this Session to give effect to a new threeyear Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement. This will give low and moderate income earners increased opportunities to own their own homes and enable the States to provide further low cost rental accommodation.

My Government will study closely the report of the current Committee of” Inquiry into land and housing costs. A housing allowance experiment will be conducted to determine the effect of cash payments to low income householders renting private accommodation.

My Government plans to implement a deposits insurance scheme to strengthen permanent building societies and protect depositors. This will be discussed with the States and financial institutions.

My Government will work to improve the quality of education at all levels. Particular attention will continue to be given to the improvement of technical and further education and an additional $50 million over existing commitments will be provided to improve technical education facilities in inner city areas and country towns. The Education Program for Unemployed Youth will be enlarged.

The Government will introduce measures to ensure that parents of handicapped children pay no more for their education than parents of other children, and to provide further assistance for the education of children in isolated areas.

Action will be taken on the inquiries into major aspects of education which will be submitted to the Government in the coming months.

Australia is a multi-cultural society and my Government is concerned that all groups have the opportunity to enrich their identity and develop their talents to the full.

Emphasis will be given to assisting Aboriginals to become more self-sufficient and acquire the skills to manage their own affairs.

New initiatives will be undertaken concerning Aboriginal health, alcohol abuse and juvenile welfare, and the Government looks forward to the fullest consultation with the National Aboriginal Conference and the Council for Aboriginal Development on these and all other issues affecting Aboriginals.

My Government will act to ease the problems which migrants face, particularly through barriers of language. Migrant welfare, health and education programs are being expanded and support for non-government migrant resource centres will be increased.

An ethnic television service will be established. Close attention will be given to the recommendations of the expert group currently reviewing Post-Arrival Programs and Services to Migrants.

My Government will continue its efforts to improve the status of women in Australian society and a permanent National Women’s Advisory Council will be established.

Civil Rights and Political Reform

My Government will carry out a continuing program of law reform, particularly with a view to protecting civil liberties and enhancing individual rights. Constant vigilance is required to ensure that the rights of individual citizens are not eroded or ignored.

In consultation with the States, legislation will be re-introduced to establish a Human Rights Commission. My Government welcomes Australia’s membership on the UN Human Rights Commission as an opportunity to contribute to the discussion and further development of internationally accepted principles of human rights.

Freedom of information legislation will be introduced to give members of the public a right of access to Government documents where these can be made public without harm to any overriding public interest.

Legislation will be introduced to establish a Security Appeals Tribunal to ensure that security assessments are subject to an appeal system and safeguard individual liberties.

A public inquiry will be held to make recommendations concerning conflicts between public duty and private interest of members of Parliament and others in the public sphere and principles which might be adopted to avoid these conflicts.

Further development of the parliamentary committee system will be promoted and parliamentary scrutiny of the Executive will be enhanced by introducing legislation enabling the Auditor-General to conduct efficiency audits and report to Parliament thereon.

Legislation will be introduced to establish a government of the Northern Territory with its own Ministers responsible to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and having responsibility for its own finances. The Government will be giving consideration to the question of delegation of functions to an Australian Capital Territory Assembly after there has been public comment and debate on the proposals for reform announced last September.

As part of my Government’s continuing commitment to strengthen our federal system, tax sharing arrangements will be maintained and strengthened. Over the course of the next three years, local governments’ share will be increased to 2 per cent of personal income tax receipts.

Environment, Science and the Arts

In recognition of our duty to protect and conserve a vital part of our national heritage, my Government will take a number of initiatives to protect our land, air and marine environment.

The world’s largest national park will be established at Kakadu, assistance will be given to the establishment of an Australian branch of the World Wild Life Fund, a public inquiry into whales and whaling will shortly commence and legislation will be brought forward to improve measures to control marine pollution.

Scientific research in the Australian Antarctic Territory and off-shore waters will be stepped up and my Government will work towards the establishment of international arrangements for the conservation of Antarctica’s marine resources.

Support for scientific research of high quality has major priority. Legislation to establish the Australian Science and Technology Council as a Statutory body will be introduced. The report of the Committee of Inquiry into CSIRO is being examined and legislation will be introduced to amend the Science and Industry Research Act.

Strong support will be given for the Arts. My Government will move to amend taxation legislation to encourage greater community investment in the Australian film industry.

International Relations and Security

The Government attaches high priority to the maintenance of strong and healthy relationships with our long-standing allies, the United States of America, Great Britain and New Zealand.

In the same way, the Government will work to enhance and strengthen our relations with Japan and with our other neighbours in the Asia and Pacific region, including the five members of ASEAN.

The success of the first Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting, which brought together 12 Presidents and Prime Ministers from Asia and the Pacific, has done much to help in this process of developing closer relations with our neighbours.

My Government will be actively pursuing the initiatives taken at the Meeting in the areas of trade, commodities and energy, and in combating drugs and terrorism. The Meeting was a milestone in the development of the modern Commonwealth of nations. It has given new form and meaning to Asian and Pacific regionalism and can only strengthen the effectiveness of existing regional organisations. The second meeting will be held in India in 1980.

The Government will also continue to develop and strenghten its important and highly valued associations which it has built up elsewhere in the world.

My Government firmly believes that the security of Australia is one of its supreme responsibilities.

My Government will continue to work for international stability and security, and to maintain an appropriate and substantial capacity to defend Australia. The Government will continue its policy of increasing the proportion of defence spending allocated to capital investment and new equipment purchases.

My Government has accepted the basic conclusions of the Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security. The functions, responsibilities and powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, which have been reviewed, will be clearly defined by legislation.

My Government regards with deep concern recent outbursts of violence employed for political and other ends both overseas and in Australia. Urgent steps are being taken in cooperation with other nations to develop more effective means of combating such acts of terrorism.

The Government’s Task

The Australian people have charged my Government with the responsibility of managing the affairs of this country. The Government is determined to honour this trust.

While the objectives my Government has set itself have been endorsed unequivocally by the majority of Australian people, my Government is determined to act as a Government of the whole and not a Government for the majority alone.

Its trust is to all the people of Australia, and its concern is for all- all sections, all groups, and all interests who care and serve this great country of ours.

Australia is becoming a nation of increasing diversity, and this enriches us all in numberless ways. We also know as Australians that we are a nation that can only progress if we acknowledge our dependence on each other, if we work together for our common good. The unity which we seek is not the unity of unthinking conformity, but the unity of free men who live by respect and concern for each other.

My Government will sustain and strengthen the basic institutions of the nation, by advancing its economy; by offering aid to those who aredisadvantaged by misfortune or disability; by helping to enrich the arts, science and learning of our country; by protecting the civil liberties of all Australians; and by securing the safety of our nation.

By devoting all its energies to these goals, by emphasising those things that unite all Australians, my Government will strive to realise the hope and vision of every Australian- an Australia rich in opportunity for all its people to live the life they choose, fully and freely.

Mr President, Members of the Senate.

Mr Speaker, Members of the House of Representatives.

I now leave you in the faith that Divine Providence will guide your deliberations and further the welfare of the people of Australia.

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Motion ( by Mr Malcolm Fraser) agreed to:

That a Committee consisting of Mr Carlton, Mr Shack and myself be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament and that the Committee do report at the next sitting.

Sitting suspended from 3.44 to 5 p.m.

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Prime Minister · Wannon · LP

- Mr Speaker, it is my sad task to inform the House of the deaths since we last met of five former members and senators. I move:

Western Australia from 1935 to 1947 and Minister of the Crown from 1937 to 1939; of Allan Duncan Fraser, C.M.G., a member of this House for the division of Eden-Monaro from 1943 to 1966 and 1969 to 1972; and of John Alexander Pettitt, a member of this House for the division of Hume from 1963 to 1972; and that the House places on record its appreciation of their long and meritorious public service and tenders its sympathy to their families in their bereavement.

Mr Speaker, Edward William Manner’s long period of service in the Senate began when he was chosen by the South Australian Parliament in 1944 to fill a casual vacancy. Although he was defeated at the 1946 election, he regained his seat as a senator in the next election and represented South Australia as a Liberal Party senator from 1950 to 1968. Mr Mattner served with distinction in the armed forces during the First World War. He was awarded the Military Medal, the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Cross. He re-enlisted in 1941 and after a period of service in Papua was discharged on medical grounds in June 1942. His wartime experience gave him a deep and continuing concern for ex-service men and women and over many years he was a powerful and effective advocate in the Parliament on their behalf.

He was elected President of the Senate in 1951, a position he held until 1953. In this position he displayed those presonal qualities that earned him the respect and friendship of senators on both sides of the chamber. He was an active member of a number of parliamentary committees and also represented Australia overseas as a member of several parliamentary delegations. Throughout his parliamentary career he served with patience and devotion- a fine example to all who follow him

The Honourable Sir John Armstrong Spicer was a man who, throughout his long and distinguished public life, both inside and outside the Parliament, contributed greatly to the dignity of each position he held. After graduating in law from Melbourne University, Sir John was admitted to the Bar in 1921. He built up an extensive practice and appeared as counsel in several important constitutional cases. In 1949 he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel. He was elected to the Senate for Victoria at the 1940 election, was defeated in 1943 and was then re-elected at the subsequent elections of 1949, 1951 and 1955.

Sir John was a leading figure in the early days of the Liberal Party. After Sir Robert Menzies’ return to power in 1949, Sir John served as Attorney-General for seven years. It was during his tenure of that portfolio that the legislation for the establishment of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation as a statutory body was perfected, the Act being assented to shortly after

Sir John’s resignation from Parliament. He resigned from Parliament in August 1956 on being appointed the first Chief Judge of the Commonwealth Industrial Court. He presided over that Court for the following 21 years with considerable diligence, dignity and patience. In 1963 the Queen honoured him by creating him Knight Bachelor.

Sir John Spicer was a man of great personal integrity and humanity and he readily gained the respect and admiration of all those who came in contact with him. Sir John retired as Chief Judge of the Industrial Court in November 1977 after more than 36 years’ service to Australia both on the bench and in this Parliament. It is a matter of deep regret that he was to enjoy only such a short period of the retirement that he so justly deserved.

Former Senator MacDonald represented Western Australia in the Senate from 1935 to 1947. Like that of Edward Mattner, Allan MacDonald ‘s period of service as a senator was preceded by a period of distinguished service in the First World War in the Australian Imperial Force. In the Senate Allan MacDonald served as Minister without portfolio from 1937 to 1939, first under Prime Minister Lyons and then in the Page Ministry. During that time he assisted the Minister for Commerce and later the Treasurer. Allan MacDonald will also be remembered as a former chairman of the Western Australian Lotteries Commission and as a leading figure in the Western Australian National Party, the forerunner of the Liberal Party, being Secretary of the Party from 1930 to 1935.

Before entering Federal politics in 1943 as the Member for the division of Eden-Monaro, Allan Fraser was a prominent political journalist working for several of Australia’s leading daily newspapers. He was to maintain this association with the Press, throughout his life, at various stages being president of the New South Wales, Victorian and Australian Capital Territory branches of the Australian Journalists’ Association as well as of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. Allan Fraser was one of the most well liked and well respected men this Parliament has seen. His talent with words was evident in his lively participation in parliamentary debates particularly those which concerned matters affecting his own constituents. Allan Fraser was a man of principle in the true sense of the word, holding steadfast to his beliefs despite objections from some of his own party or from others and despite whatever consequences might have followed the holding of those beliefs. After he retired from Federal politics Allan Fraser returned to local politics in 1 974 as an independent member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, a position he held until his death last December.

Allan Fraser will be long remembered by many people- by members of this Parliament who served with him, by the people of the Canberra and Eden-Monaro districts to whom he devoted a lifetime of service, by Australian journalists and by all who enjoyed his particular kind of humour and who admired his firm adherence to his moral principles. Allan Fraser was beyond doubt a leading member of his party. He once challenged Dr Evatt unsuccessfully for the Labor Party leadership. It is a matter of regret, I believe, that in the Labor governments under which he served he was never given the opportunity to use his considerable talents as a Minister of the Crown.

John Alexander Pettitt, or Ian as he was much better known, was the member for the Division of Hume from 1963 to 1972. Before entering Parliament Ian had 3 years’ active service with the AIF in the Middle East and New Guinea. On his discharge in 1943 he returned to farming, becoming deputy chairman of the Young Pasture Protection Board. During his time in Parliament Ian Pettitt was a member of several overseas parliamentary delegations. He was also a member of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. Ian Pettitt ‘s close personal association with the land enabled him to represent his constituents most effectively and most persuasively. He possessed in his manner that rare combination of quiet dignity and friendly disposition. Ian Pettitt was indeed a man who not only was well-liked by those whom he represented but was also a valuable colleague to those of us in the Parliament and particularly to his fellow members of the National Country Party.

Mr Speaker, to the relatives of all the deceased we extend our sympathies and note with pride their personal contribution to the enhancement of the Parliament. These former members served in the Australian Parliament over a very long span of time going beyond the memory, I suspect, of some members of this Parliament in terms of their own personal experience of Australian history. Indeed, the record of public service of the members we are honouring on this occasion began in the First World War early in this century. That merely indicates the span of time which was covered by the honourable members with whom we are concerned on this occasion. I think it is also worth noting that those members served in the Parliament and served the people of Australia in many different and various ways. They all sought to enhance their own beliefs and to enhance Australia by honouring the cause in which they believed. I think we in this Parliament should honour them on this occasion and I believe that at the same time we should seek to emulate their service to Australia and remember that we are here for one purpose and one alone- the betterment of the people we represent.

Leader of the Opposition · Oxley

The passing of the Honourable E. W. Mattner, the Honourable Sir John Spicer, the Honourable A. N. MacDonald, Mr A. D. Fraser and Mr J. A. Pettitt is a matter of regret to the Opposition. We join the Government in expressing condolences to those who survive them.

Former Senator Mattner was a man well known to many members who still serve the Parliament. He served in the Senate for more than 20 years and on his record he displayed a wide interest in the activities of this institution. My enduring memories of former Senator Mattner are of an eternally cheerful and ever-helpful man who was always bustling about in what seemed to be a most industrious way. He was highly regarded by all parties, not least for the distinguished war record he established in two world wars. He was a man of great courage who achieved the respect of this institution.

The Honourable Sir John Spicer was not known to me personally but I do know of him by reputation and I do know that many of my colleagues did know him personally. They regarded him as a distinguished lawyer, parliamentarian and jurist. He established wide respect in the community in his capacity as a member of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and he established that respect not least with people in the community who may have been expected to have been critical and perhaps even antagonistic towards him. He was able to do that only because of the essentially impartial and understanding way in which he discharged his responsibilities. He had the distinction of having been the Attorney-General in the Government which introduced the legislation to establish the Industrial Court and then to serve as its first Chief Judge and, as I said, to have served with distinction.

I did not know the Honourable Allan Nicol] MacDonald but from his record I know that he was a Minister of the Crown in the pre-war period and that he had contributed military service to the country.

Mr Allan Duncan Fraser of course was well known to me. We served together for many years in Parliament before his retirement. In all he served this institution for more than a quarter of a century which is a record that not many of us are able to achieve, although most of us would wish that we could achieve it. He was a tough-minded and independent person, very direct but always faithful to the views that he expressed. He had a difficult electorate for a Labor man yet continually he held it over a fairly lengthy period. That in itself was an expression of the high regard in which he was held by the people in that electoratean expression of great personal respect. He lost the seat in 1966 and was re-elected in 1969. 1 remember his telling me and many others too in the coffee room on one occasion that having lost the seat, against his wishes he was determined to regain it; he did so in 1969 and having done that he was prepared to retire. That small vignette gives an insight into the man’s toughness, his determination, and his make-up.

John Alexander Pettitt served during the period in which I have been a member of this Parliament- between 1963 and 1972. He was a diligent and respected member of Parliament, a man for whom I had a great deal of respect. He was quiet, modest but hard-working. All of these men have in their various ways made a valuable contribution to the parliamentary system. The system is better for having had their presence in the Parliament. The community is better for having had such men prepared to contribute that sort of service on behalf of the community and on behalf of the democratic institutions which we all seek to serve. I join the Government in expressing condolences to those who survive them and I express the sympathy and concern of the Opposition at the passing of such fine men.

Minister for Trade and Resources · Richmond · NCP/NP

– I would like to join in the condolence motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the tribute and sympathetic remarks offered by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden). We are paying tribute today to five former members of Parliament who dedicated their lives to giving public service to this nation. They are men we can all be very proud to have known or to have been associated with. I would like to speak of two of them because I remember them very clearly. One is Allan Fraser who was a well established member of this Parliament when I first became a member. I remember him as a very lively and very effective debater in the Opposition. When men like Eddie Ward, Reg Pollard, Les Haylen and the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) all got going the sparks really flew in the Parliament. Allan Fraser was a man I respected because of the effectiveness with which he presented his case. It was always analytical, yet if anyone crossed him he had a very sharp and cutting tongue with which he could quickly silence those who interjected upon him. He was a man of principle. He was a man who gave public service even after he retired from Parliament. He continued to participate in many of the public organisations in Canberra. He will be long respected and loved by those who were associated with him.

I make special reference to my colleague Ian Pettitt. He was a chap who evoked great affection from all his colleagues. He was nothing more than himself. He was a good man through and through. He dedicated himself to doing the best he could for this country. He contributed in war. He contributed in farming organisations with which he was associated. He certainly worked as a dedicated man to try to be the best possible parliamentary representative for the electorate of Hume. If there is one single thing I remember about Ian Pettitt it is the way in which he worked tirelessly to try to give representation to that electorate. Few honourable members would have travelled more miles in a car each year than Ian Pettitt. He travelled some 40,000 or 50,000 miles trying to attend every single function within his electorate to which he was invited. He was an example to other honourable members of how one should look after his electorate, but he literally worked himself into the ground.

He was a very good farmer and initiated a lot of new farming methods in his area. He was a leader, but he brought his association with the land into the Parliament. Whenever there was a debate dealing with rural affairs Ian Pettitt would always be involved in it. Prior to Christmas I, along with my colleagues the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) and the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt), had the opportunity to visit Ian Pettitt on his sick bed. It was pleasing to be able to convey to him messages from his colleagues in the Parliament. He was always interested in what was going on. It was a very sad Christmas when he died on Christmas Day. Our sympathies go to his wife and three boys. He will be long remembered by his colleagues in the National Country Party.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

-I join other speakers in expressing my sympathy to the wives, relatives and families of those who are departed about whom we are now talking. Allan Fraser served for a long time while I was in the Parliament. It was said that he was the only honourable member in the Parliament of whom Sir Robert Menzies was afraid in debate. I believe that statement came from Sir Robert himself. Allan Fraser was a great and powerful debater. He had an analytical mind. One was soon taught to fear him in debate.

My principal purpose in rising is to pay tribute to the memory of Sir John Spicer. I would be less than grateful if I were to sit silent while other speakers talked of the great work of Sir John Spicer. It was his casting vote in the case of Cameron v. Dougherty and others which made it possible for me to remain solvent. The case eventually went to the High Court. I won again there. It went to the Privy Council in 1960, by which time the costs had amounted to more than £57,000. 1 could not have paid that money had I lost. Very few honourable members in the House at that time, apart maybe from the present Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser), could have done so. Had I lost I would have become bankrupt and as a bankrupt I would have been finished as a parliamentarian.

Sir John Spicer was a great judge because he was right not only in this case but also in most of the cases over which he presided. It was a wonderful contrast to see the fairness, erudition and learning of Sir John Spicer and that exhibited by his brother Dunphy in these cases. Sir Edward Morgan sat on that case about which I am speaking. The same exhibition of impartiality on the one hand and the partiality on the other hand by Dunphy J. could be seen -

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I will not mention him any more.


– The honourable gentleman knows that to take advantage of a condolence motion to make reflections of a personal character and upon the professional integrity of a member of the judiciary is quite misplaced. As a very aged serving member of the House, I ask that he cease doing so.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

-Mr Speaker, you will be pleased to know that neither you nor I will ever have to appear before the learned gentleman. That does not mean that we should cast reflections upon him.


-Order! The honourable member will proceed to speak to the condolence motion or resume his seat.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

-The same thing happened in 1965 in the case of Cameron and others v. Dougherty and others in South

Australia. Again, Sir John Spicer had the fairness, decency and good judgment to vote in favour of the winning side. I am not the only union official who has spoken highly of and thought highly of Sir John Spicer. I can say that I know of no union official in this country, whether he be of the Right, Left or centre, a Maoist or a Moscow liner or an official Aarons liner who has ever said anything other than that Sir John Spicer was one of the finest judges ever to sit on the Commonwealth Industrial Court.

Minister for Primary Industry · New England · NCP/NP

– I would like to join with other honourable members in speaking to the motion of condolence moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in respect of the five deceased former members of this place and of the other place. In particular, I would like to say a few words about my very close friend and former colleague, Ian Pettitt. I first met Ian while I was a university student and he acquired a property called Mount Murray at Harden in the south-west tablelands area of New South Wales. He had been managing a property after returning from his war service. He bought a property which at that stage was very much run down. He worked most assiduously and over a period of years developed Mount Murray into quite a show place in the Harden district. As my Leader has said, as a member of this place Ian Pettitt distinguished himself perhaps more than most by the incredible mileage that he ran up each year in attending to the needs of his constituents. Perhaps no member has attended more functions over such a vast area than Ian Pettitt did during the period that he served as member for Hume.

In particular, I remember Ian because of his associations in the rural community and in the field of primary industry. He was a man who contributed both through the Young Pastures Protection Board and in this chamber because of his intense knowledge of agriculture and stock breeding. He proved in practice the capabilities that he applied on his farm, and he was able to extend them in a way which inspired others in this place. To Lucy and his three sons, I would like to extend my deepest personal sympathy. I extend sympathy also to the widows and families of the other former members of the Parliament.


-I wish briefly to associate myself with the condolence motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and supported by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) and other honourable members. I knew only two of the deceased gentlemen. Possible the first person I met in this House was Ian Pettitt. I thought very highly of him as a decent and hardworking person. The reason I have risen to speak today is to thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to attend as your representative the funeral of former Senator Mattner. I was honoured to do so because I had a very long association with former Senator Mattner and I wish to comment briefly on his sad death.

He was an extremely popular man throughout the Adelaide Hills and particularly in the Barossa Valley. People in the Barossa Valley were very proud of Senator Manner’s war record and achievements. If we look at his string of awards, primarily from World War I, we will note that he had a lowly start. His first medal was the Military Medal. He rose through the ranks to become a highly decorated soldier and a great officer. He worked very closely with my father on manpower problems towards the end of World War II. I always regarded him as a man of tremendous humanity and terriffic popularity in the electorate. In my experience members of Parliament have different attributes. Senator Manner’s attributes were his great humour, his tremendous popularity because of his inimitable sense of humour and his deep and abiding patriotism and love for his nation. I know his children and many of his relatives and I appreciate the opportunity to express my regret at his death and to support the motion before the House.


– I support the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and supported by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) and others and make particular reference to a predecessor of mine, Mr Ian Pettitt. Ian Pettitt represented the electorate of Hume between 1963 and 1972 and represented it extremely well. I came to know him in the time leading up to my election and the advice and assistance he was able to give me at that time and subsequent to my election to this place were invaluable to me. Ian Pettitt and I developed a close relationship over that period and up until his untimely death on Christmas Day. As has been mentioned by the Leader of the National Country Party (Mr Anthony) and the Deputy Leader of the National Country Party (Mr Sinclair), Ian covered immense distances as he did his job around his electorate. He maintained a facility for the personal touch which many politicians have not been able to achieve in the way in which he achieved it. In addition to travelling all those miles to attend functions he was always able to stop to have a cup of tea with somebody on his way to or from a function. In my travels around my electorate the list of people I encounter who recall the visits that Ian Pettitt paid to their homes, shops, businesses or whatever is extremely long. Ian Pettitt will long be remembered for the innovations he introduced to the district around Harden on the South- West Slopes, particularly in respect of pasture improvement, the use of superphosphate, the upgrading of pastures and improving stock carrying capacities. He was a leader in the pastoral area; a man who brought his knowledge into the Parliament and used it well.

Ian Pettitt deserves great credit for having held a seat which at that time had a long history of being an extremely marginal seat, even more marginal than it is now. As honourable members will recall, its representation changed regularly between Colonel Anderson and Arthur Fuller in the years leading up to 1963 when Ian Pettitt won the seat. In 1966 he resisted a strong challenge from Mr Menadue, the secretary to the then Leader of the Opposition. In that election Ian Pettitt received a record majority in Hume. In 1969 he held the seat again. In 1972 he was unlucky enough to be defeated by a very small number of votes after distribution of preferences. Hume continued to be an extremely marginal seat. Ian Pettitt held it through difficult times in the rural industry and was extremely unfortunate to lose it in 1972.

I think that all members of the National Country Party organisation in Hume would wish to be associated with this condolence motion. On their behalf, as well as on behalf of all my colleagues in this Parliament, I express to Ian Pettitt ‘s widow, Lucy, and his three sons, Peter, Simon and Lachlan, my sincere sympathies and condolences. I support the motion.

Monaro · Eden

-I would very much like to support this motion of condolence, especially in respect of Mr Allan Fraser who was, until quite recently, the member for my electorate of Eden-Monaro. My people in EdenMonaro would be disappointed if I did not speak on their behalf, despite the fact that Mr Fraser and I belonged to different parties, and express their sadness at his passing. Mr Fraser was one of three long-standing representatives of my electorate. Eden-Monaro has had two long-standing representatives from non-Labor parties and one from the Labor Party. I think it is probably worth recording that the people in Eden-Monaro like to settle down for a long period with a member. Certainly in the case of Mr Fraser it was evident, after not too many years, that the people were voting not for the Liberal Party, the National Country Party or the Labor Party but for Fraser. He acted on their behalf in this place. He was always prepared to stand up and be counted for his beliefs. That was well known throughout Eden-Monaro and I am told that it was well known in the Labor Caucus.

The last time I saw him, before his lengthy periods in hospital at the end of last year, was on the occasion of the Queen’s visit. I spoke with him at the reception in this place. As was normal for him, he asked about those people who had been his people in my electorate- the priests, the railway workers, the school teachers and his friends in the Liberal Party and the National Country Party. My people and I miss him and wish to express our sadness to his family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable members standing in their places.

page 22



-I move:

Mr Donald Cameron:

– I second the motion.

Mr Charles Jones:

-I move:

Mr Les Johnson:

– I second the motion.


-The time allowed for nominations has expired. I call the member for Murray.

Mr LLOYD (Murray)- Before speaking to the nominations of the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar), I would like to refer briefly to the long and distinguished service to this Parliament by the retiring Chairman of Committees, Mr Lucock, the honourable member for Lyne. He was Chairman of Committees for almost 15 years- a tremendous record. In that time he gained the respect of members of this House for his fairness, his detailed explanation of any ruling and his willingness to explain procedures to new members of Parliament. One can say that in keeping with his previous and his continuing calling he developed a certain aura of reverence in the position of Chairman of Committees. His long and dignified service to this Parliament goes beyond the position of Chairman of Committees; indeed, it is part of his whole approach to life. But this is not the appropriate time to refer to this aspect of his service or to his attitude to life.

The honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr N. A. Brown), when referring to the qualities required in a Speaker, used such words as ‘someone who embodies the spirit of the House, who has patience and firmness, dignity and impartiality’. He mentioned also a certain experience and age range acceptability. I believe that these qualities apply also to the position of Chairman of Committees. I believe that the honourable member for Wide Bay who has not quite four years of active service as a member of this Parliament, has shown that he is not lacking in these attributes. His contributions to debates have been dignified and thoughtful. They have also revealed an above average command of the English language and of English literature. However, in spite of his literary interest, I am assured that there is no connection between his name, ‘Millar’ and that in a tale in an early English classic. He has made a worthwhile contribution to parliamentary and party committees and to the wider activities of Parliament. His willingness to accept new responsibilities and to do his homework to fit himself for that new task, his mental ability and agility and his natural dignity will, I believe, after a short apprenticeship, make him a worthy successor to the honourable member for Lyne as Chairman of Committees.

Mr CHARLES JONES (Newcastle)-I have proposed the honourable member for Lyne, Philip Ernest Lucock, for the position of Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees. Earlier today, I was astounded to learn that that honourable member was not to be nominated for that position. I have sat with him in this place for the 19 years in which I have been privileged to be a member of this place. Coming from my neighbouring electorate, naturally he and I have met quite regularly in a social capacity. As we both live in the same direction from Canberra, we have travelled together to and from this place quite regularly. Invariably Mr Pike would make sure that the honourable member for Lyne and I travelled on the same plane or train. Therefore, I have had the opportunity to get to know Phil Lucock. In that time I have always found him to be a man who is prepared to argue his point as to what he thought should be the rulings of the Parliament.

When I look through the Parliamentary Handbook and find the record of this man’s service and compare it with the record of the service of the Government’s nominee, I come to the conclusion, Mr Speaker, that you must be concerned to realise that when you are not in that chair the man who will take your place will be a man who has never occupied the position of Deputy Chairman in this place. He has not acted in the capacity of Deputy Speaker or in any other such capacity. We feel that when you are absent, Mr Speaker, this Parliament ought to have someone in the Chair, as well as a Chairman of Committees, who is able to give impartial judgments and rulings on points of order and on the conduct of members. We heard a great deal this morning about the impartiality of the Chair. All we question is whether the impartiality of the Chair is going to be disregarded. Is it that because the honourable member for Lyne has given some impartial rulings and has threatened some Ministers of the Government he is now paying the !>rice for that impartiality? For example, one can look at Hansard to see what was said about him when he was re-elected as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees. The honourable member for Paterson (Mr O’Keefe) said that Mr Lucock, during his membership of the House of Representatives, demonstrated great ability, knowledge and capacity which qualified him for the appointment which this position of Chairman of Committees requires. So I have great pleasure in proposing Philip Ernest Lucock as Chairman of Committees.

Mr Donald Cameron:

-I commence my seconding of the nomination of the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) as Chairman of Committees by making brief reference to the previous speech. Since I have been a member I do not recall the Australian Labor Party Opposition ever proposing a member of the Government side as a candidate. That it has done so today highlights the fact either that the Opposition is totally devoid or bereft of talent or that honourable members opposite are indulging in an exercise of humbug. The only time that members of the Opposition ever make a speech of praise about anybody on this side of the House is after that person is deceased or defeated. We had another example of that today.

I second the nomination of the honourable member for Wide Bay with special pride, because he is a fellow Queenslander and because he and I have something in common- large rural electorates. At 13 years of age the honourable member started work as a telegraph messenger at the General Post Office in Hobart. At the beginning of the War he joined the Royal Australian Air Force. His ability was quickly recognised, and he was placed in the intelligence group. At the end of the War he took advantage of the retraining program and set about gaining his matriculation. Later he served as an immigration officer. In about 1950 the honourable member packed his gear and headed north to Queensland where he commenced farming. He was a very successful farmer. For members of the Opposition to cast aspersions on his integrity and on his ability to learn and to come to grips with the new job leaves honourable members on this side of the chamber stunned and surprised.

For the benefit of the Opposition I would like to recall some of the history of the position of Chairman of Committees. The office of the Chairman of Committees developed in the House of Commons principally as a result of the centuries-long conflict between King and parliament. For several conturies the House conducted its operations without the delegation of any of its duties. The committee system was commenced when the House began to replace the Speakerthat is you, sir- with a private member during debate on monetary matters. A private member could be trusted more readily than the Speaker.


-The honourable member will cease reflection or I will make him resume his seat.

Mr Donald Cameron:

- Sir, if you were Speaker back in the early 1 800s it would apply to you, but you were not. A private member could be trusted more readily than the Speaker, who was often the King’s creature, not to report to the monarch every word that was uttered about his probably extortionate demands for subsidies. Over the years this practice crystallised into an established and cherished usage, resulting in the modern system of committees of the whole House. Eventually as the Commons’ suspicions of its Speaker abated the Chairman came to be identified with the Speaker as his deputy. Until 1853 the Speaker had no deputy, and the House would adjourn if he could not take his place due to illness. If illness was prolonged he resigned and another was appointed until the original Speaker recovered. In 1853 the House resolved to allow the Chairman of Ways and Means to act as Deputy Speaker. In 1855 an Act was passed to extend all the powers of the Speaker to his deputy. I have outlined the historical beginnings of this position, and we on this side of the House feel quite confident that the honourable member for Wide Bay will serve in the position with dignity and distinction.

Mr Les Johnson:

-As the seconder of the nomination of Mr Lucock I would like to say a few words. Mr Lucock came to this Parliament not four years ago but 26 years ago and for nearly 22 of those years he has been one of the occupants of the chair. All of us recall successive Speakers paying tribute to him. Mr Lucock in fact filled the role of Temporary Chairman of Committees from 1956 to 1960. Since then he has been Chairman of Committees, Acting Speaker or Deputy Speaker.

No one has ever regarded the honourable gentleman as a great debater. His forte has been his knowledge of the processes of Parliament. He is a distinguished parliamentarian in many ways. He is one of the most travelled parliamentarians. He has attended Commonwealth parliamentary conferences in Kingston, Kuala Lumpur and Sri Lanka. He has also been a member of the Australian delegation to the United Nations. He is a widely experienced member of Parliament and was created a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in June 1971 in recognition of his distinguished services to this Parliament. His is an ex-serviceman who during the Second World War served for five months in Rhodesia as a member of the Royal Australian Air Force.

It is regrettable that, despite the election night call by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) for consensus and a new spirit of unity, we find now that the National Country Party has drawn out the long knives and that strife and dissension are the order of the day. I think it would be regrettable if members of this House were deprived of the opportunity to register their appreciation by way of a positive vote for Mr Lucock. I would be very surprised if those members of his own party who have long sung his praises and who have always been anxious to have him in their electorates would deny him the support that he needs on this occasion. We uphold his candidature on this occasion knowing, of course, that whilst he is often pontifical he is always principled in his rulings. I am sure that his impartiality is the reason why most honourable members will support him today. I believe that it is because of bis impartiality that some members of the National Country Party want to deprive him of the opportunity to continue his distinguished service to the House of Representatives. I strongly advocate that the virtues and qualities so long displayed by Mr Lucock should attract the support of honourable members today.


-In accordance with the Standing Orders the bells will be rung for two minutes and a ballot will be taken. ( The bells having been rung)


– Ballot papers will now be distributed. Will honourable members please write on their ballot paper the name of the candidate for whom they wish to vote. In alphabetical order, the two candidates are Mr Lucock and Mr Millar.


– While the ballot papers are being counted I draw the attention of the House to a provision of the Standing Orders in relation to the election of Speaker. Paragraph (a) of Standing Order 12 requires a person, upon being nominated, to state whether he accepts the motion for his appointment. There is no such provision in relation to the appointment of Chairman of Committees. I would not have explained that position save for the fact that I have had a telegram from Mr Lucock. He states:

Regret owing to illness of Mrs Lucock not in attendance. If Standing Orders permit am prepared to accept nomination if made for position of Chairman of Committees.

In fact, I read the telegram to explain Mr Lucock ‘s absence, not to explain the acceptance of the motion that he be appointed Chairman of Committees. Undoubtedly, the acceptance of the motion was permitted by the Standing Orders.

Mr Hayden:

- Mr Speaker, why did you, not mention earlier that you had that telegram? It may well have affected the vote of honourable members.


– It was a judgment I reached that in fairness to the honourable member- for Lyne I should read the telegram now.

Mr Hayden:

– In fairness to the honourable member for Lyne?


-Yes ( The ballot having been concluded)


-The result of the ballot is: Mr Millar 62 votes, Mr Lucock 52 votes. Mr Millar is therefore declared elected.

Prime Minister · Wannon · LP

– I congratulate the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) on winning that ballot. I am quite certain that he will make a very good and effective Chairman of Committees and that, working with you, Mr Speaker, he will enhance the dignity of this Parliament over the next three years.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Resources · Richmond · NCP/NP

– I should like to congratulate the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar). I have every confidence in his ability to be an outstanding Chairman of Committees. At the same time, I should like to pay tribute to the long and meritorious service of” the previous Chairman of Committees.

Leader of the Opposition · Oxley

I should like to congratulate the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar). The result of the election was somewhat closer than anticipated. With another six votes the result would have been turned around and the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock), who had filled the office with some distinction for many years, would have retained the position. I regret that in your wisdom, Mr Speaker, you found it prudent not to announce earlier the contents of the telegram. It might have had some influence on the voting of members. They may have thought that for some technical reason the nomination of the honourable member for Lyne was not in order. All I can wish is that some unfortunate wretch appearing before a 12-man jury should not appear before 12 men as fair.


– Order! I call upon the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw that remark.


– I withdraw it.


-I should like to offer my congratulations to the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar). He comes to an office which I am sure will give him some pleasure and some traumas. I should also like to pay tribute to the defeated candidate, the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock). He has served as Chairman of Committees during the major part of the time that I have been a member of this Parliament and has occupied the chair in that capacity or as Temporary Chairman during the whole of the period that I have been a member of the Parliament. He served in that office for longer than any other member in the history of the Parliament and did so with great distinction. The House has deemed that another person shall fill the office of Chairman of Committees and I wish that person well. I express the hope that, as his predecessor did, he will look after the interests of all members of the House and ensure that when he is in charge of the House the Standing Orders are applied fairly and impartially, as you yourself would wish, Mr Speaker, in order that all members obtain an adequate opportunity to put their points of view in this Parliament.

Mr CHARLES JONES ( Newcastle )-I should like to take the opportunity of congratulating the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) on his election in a very close contest. I hope that he will bring to this position the same degree of impartiality as did the former Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees. I did not always agree with him, but that is understandable. At the same time, I believe that Philip Lucock did try to bring a degree of impartiality to the position he held. I know that he took great pride in the fact that he tried to be impartial. We in politics who become dedicated to causes believe that we are being impartial while the people sitting on the other side of the chamber see us as being one-eyed. In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I regret very much that you did not read out the telegram prior to the vote being taken. I think that you had a responsibility to the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock). He sent a telegram to you as the custodian of the rights of this Parliament, the custodian of the rights of the members of this House. He sent a telegram to you not as Billy Snedden but as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The telegram was germane to the vote being conducted and you had a responsibility to convey to the House the contents of that telegram on behalf of the honourable member for Lyne. We know that it was for family reasons that the honourable member was not present in the chamber this afternoon. I am certain that he would be just as disappointed in your conduct as I am. You have displayed already that degree of partiality which you assured the House earlier that you would not indulge in -


-Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat.


-I would like to convey congratulations to the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) and to refer particularly to the service given to this Parliament by the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock). I have served for some years as a Deputy Chairman of Committees in this Parliament with the honourable member for Lyne who has served both as a Chairman of Committees and as a Deputy Chairman of Committees. I can vouch for his knowledge of the Standing Orders and parliamentary practice and can say that his respect for the impartiality of the Chair is absolutely paramount at all times. I think it is a great pity that apparently, because of clashes with one or two people- all honourable members remember that time he clashed with the Leader of the House (Mr Sinclair)- his time had to come.

Mr Morris:

– And the Government Whip.


– The Government Whip as well. That is quite correct. However, I pay particular respect to the honourable member for Lyne. I was tempted myself to gain nomination for the position this afternoon but out of respect for the honourable member for Lyne I declined to do so. I would like also to back up the words of the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones). Only six more votes were needed for the honourable member for Lyne to have been elected here this afternoon. I think that if that telegram had been read out it would have made a very big difference indeed.


– Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat.


-I would like to wish the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) well but I do not know whether congratulations are in order. I think it is most unusual for any person, irrespective of ability, to be elected to the very responsible position of Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker without having at least fulfilled some time, no matter how short, as a Deputy Chairman of Committees. Irrespective of one’s ability, when one is in the Chair and is under pressure, it is a very onerous job, as you well know, Mr Speaker. We have heard a statement from the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage), who has had a long period of service as a Deputy Chairman of Committees. Apparently he stood down voluntarily in favour of a person he considered to be superior in ability- the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock). I think there is one very disturbing feature, and I say this in no -


– Order ! The honourable gentleman has the indulgence of the House to congratulate the honourable member for Wide Bay. I suggest that he direct himself to that purpose,


-I congratulate the honourable member for Wide Bay and wish him well but I think it is important that I pay respect to the honourable member for Lyne as well. The honourable member for Lyne has shown his capacity in the Chair, his great knowledge of the Standing Orders and his impartiality. I have not always agreed with him on some matters but to my mind he has been very impartial. I think that one disturbing feature of the whole affair is the rumour which went around the Parliament after the honourable member for Lyne was defeated. Apparently it was an honest vote in the party room but it was rumoured that he had been put aside because he had been too impartial to members of the Opposition. I say advisedly that it is a tragedy if it is so and if pressure had been brought to bear by some Ministers within the party room to replace him. I do not propose to name anybody. Mr Speaker, as you said this morning, the person who occupies the Chair is not only the protector of the privileges of this Parliament; he is also there to see that both sides of the Parliament get a fair go. The parliamentary institution puts itself at great risk if there is any feeling that the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker or the Chairman of Committees has to lean to the Government side.


-Order! The honourable gentleman has had enough indulgence. He will resume his seat.


– Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Wide Bay

-Mr Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser), the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) and honourable gentlemen for their congratulatory remarks. When accepting nomination for this position, by proper party room processes, I was encouraged by two thoughts: Firstly, the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock) occupied the Chair as Deputy Chairman after four years of service in the Parliament and, secondly, the National Country Party of Australia has an impeccable record in providing the House with deputy speakers and chairman of committees of talent and wide acclaim. On that basis I was encouraged to believe that the judgment demonstrated in the past would be no less reliable on this occasion. Time will tell whether the judgment is wise. I simply acquaint the House with the fact that I came to the Parliament to serve this House and to serve the nation. I shall continue to do that. By applying myself diligently, conscious of the responsibility which I bear, I hope that in some modest way I can maintain the form of the House to ensure that honest men may assemble to engage honestly in advancing the affairs of the nation.


-Reference has been made to the time at which I read the telegram from the honourable member for Lyne. I make it clear that the question of acceptance or nonacceptance of the motion is not part of the Standing Orders. It was therefore not relevant to read out the telegram. Whatever I may have thought, that is the way in which I interpret the Standing Orders and that is the way in which they ought to be properly interpreted.

page 26


(The honourable member for Reid proceeding to give notice of motion)-


-Order! I ruled in the Thirtieth Parliament, and will rule again now, that I will not accept a notice of motion which states the facts upon which the proposition will be argued, as distinct from putting the proposition itself. The honourable gentleman, in what he has stated, has put the proposition. He is concerned to maintain his position for General Business Thursday No. 15 and he has done so. The best course for him to adopt, if I may have access to the document, is to add to it at a later time.


-I will do that, Mr Speaker.

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That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 2.15 p.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 6.29 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 February 1978, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.