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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3963


Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 09/11/1975

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3963

Press Statement No. 590
9 November 1975
our nation is now entering the fifth week of the
Constitutional crisis caused by the action of the Senate
in blocking the Budget. Amid all the worry and anxiety
caused by the actions of the Senate, the message I wish to
bring tonight is basically one of reassurance. The really
important thing that has happened in Australia over the
last three or four weeks has been the proof of the basic
strength and steadiness of the Australian people, their
political maturity, their Common sense in circumstances
which for all of us are new, challenging and uncharted.
There has been. this paradox: that on an issue
containing the seeds of deep division and disruptin there has
been a display of national unity and common purpose from the
vast majority of ordinary Australians and from all sections
of the community such as we have not had on any issue since
the war. I have drawn great reassurance from it, and I
believe all Australians, whatever their political persuasion
and indeed whatever their opinion on this specific issue may
be, can take reassurance from it confidence about the
fundamental stability and maturity of our country.
Not the least encouraging, not the least remarkable
has been the clear support shown for the principle of
Parliamentary democracy by our fellow Australians, born
overseas. In so many cases they came here from countries
either where there was no genuine Parliamentary democracy or
where irresponsibility and factionalism made the Parliamentary
system unworkable. They are now appalled to find that.
the right of the elected government to govern twice elected
in less than three years is now being challenged in Australia.
The second ground for reas surance is the loyalty
and solidarity already shown by the Public Service throughout
Australia. Clearly the basic business of the nation cannot
continue without their co-operation. For instance, while
money is certainly available to pay all pensions, the actual
delivery of payment requires that officers can continue to.
do their job. It's because of this that the Government is
determined to do all within its Constitutional and legal
power to ensure that pensions are paid, that Public Servants
can do their job and that the Armed Forces can continue at
their posts. / 2

Public Servants will be paid in the normal way on
13 and 27 November. Thereafter the banks -the private banks
as well as the Commonwealth Bank and the State Government
banks are concerned to ensure that their customers, whose
incomes are threatened, obtain credit during this difficult
time. The Government welcomes the statement by the banks
that they will do all they can to provide credit. We shall
co-operate with them. That is, the very least we could do
for the loyal Public Servants who are sticking by their posts.
The third ground for confidence and reassurance i~ s
the attitude of the industrial movement and increasingly,
as the implications of the Senate's conduct become clearer,
the attitude of the business community. I acknowledge that
before the Budget, most businessmen would have preferred a
change of Government. But it's been very clear for the past
month that what most businessmen now want is for our Budget
to pass and for that Budget to be given a real chance to work.
The Budget spells out the way to economic recovery the sole
but difficult, delicate path to recovery.
We emphasised the need for the restoration of investment
confidence. That's very important. But there's another side
to the coin. We seek co-operation from employees their
unions and associations and we are getting it. That
co-operation is the whole key to the chance of restoring
investment profitability. But how long can we expect it to
last if the Budget is further stalled?
It cannot be repeated too often: the Senate could
not now be doing what it is except for the death of a
Labor Senator, Senator Milliner, and the scandalous
unconstitutional appointment of a non-Labor replacement.
This whole crisis would not be happening in the way that it
is happening except for the death of Senator Milliner and
its shameful aftermath.
The people of Australia are now very properly asking
" where will it end?" It will end as soon as the Senate
stops this nonsense, abides by the Constitution and passes
the Budget and allows the duly elected government to govern.
it will end tomorrow if the Senate stops stalling and does
its Constitutional duty and its duty by Australia.
In a very real sense, this issue will be decided
by the Australian people. If we all refuse to be panicked,
if we all refuse to be blackmailed, if we hold firm together,
I cannot but believe that there are enough men and women in
the Senate who, seeing their duty and responsibility, will
also do their duty.

Transcript 3963