Recorded: 9 May 1989
Length: 38 minutes
Interviewed by: Greg McIntosh

Listen to the interview


Greg McIntosh recorded this interview with Eric Fitzgibbon, Labor backbencher, at Parliament House, Canberra on 9 May, 1989  

G McIntosh: Interview with Eric Fitzgibbon, Labor Backbencher, Parliament House, Canberra May 9th, 1989. Firstly I’d like to ask you is just your general view on the Parliament-Executive relationship as it is, how you see it now, what you think it should be?

E Fitzgibbon: When you talk about the Executive, you’re talking, not about the house heavies, you’re talking about the Cabinet and Ministry?

G McIntosh: Yes, the Ministers and the bureaucracy.

E Fitzgibbon: Well I guess that would depend upon the attitude adopted by the Ministers themselves and the bureaucrats themselves. At the present time, I must be quite honest, I have received tremendous assistance and cooperation from all Ministers. I have besieged them, inundated them with various material because I claim that I work as hard as anyone in that parliament. All my electorate problems go straight to them and we’ve managed to establish contacts within the Ministry who don’t seem to be disconcerted by the frequency of our missiles directed to their department. They respond to them. Now, I don’t know how that system could be improved. I think in the old house there was a better opportunity for one to have a cup of morning tea, or have breakfast with a Minister and you’d grab his ear that way, but I have no real problems now because most of the Minsters have been to my electorate. I have established cordial relations with them and I just go around and say, look I want to see the Minster. Just two days ago I had a bit of a problem so I rang Blewett. I was granted — with his private secretary, Neal and myself, we spent an hour or three quarters of an hour together, sufficient time to solve the problem we were having. I’m not coming up with anything new for you.

G McIntosh: Do you think the parliament, overall has enough means to scrutinize the Executive. I mean the Executive covers an enormous range. Is the Parliament equipped overall to cover what they’re doing?

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, look it would be hard to quibble about facilities and the opportunities available here. I feel that one thing which has been particularly helpful for me has been my preparedness to attend a lot of the Caucus Committee meetings. Now there you’re usually get a briefing from the Minister and you establish your contact with the Minister. You have your finger on the pulse of what is occurring and consequently you can grab the Minister and not waste his time in puerile arguments, or just wasteful chit chat. You can put a point to him. He knows that you’ve been to the committee meeting and that point is a relevant and solid one and you can discuss it. Particularly advantageous to me I guess has been my membership of the — joining Public Accounts Committee meeting. Now there you — I think you gain a fair understanding of various departments and how they operate. It gives you a far greater insight into the operations of the Parliament.

G McIntosh: Say you were in Opposition how do you think it be different? Obviously you’ve got good access now because you are a member of the government party. If you were in Opposition do you think you would have the opportunities to do those sort of things as much?

E Fitzgibbon: Well I tend to get on well with all Members of Parliament. You take the people you can — I welcomed John Howard to my electorate. I was asked to by the Mayor and I was very kind and charitable to him. I did it in a friendly way and I think he appreciates that. I have gone along to their rooms sometimes and have a cup of tea or a coffee or a bit of a chat. I’m not a person who is politically biased. I don’t recognise — they are human beings. I think I would be able to approach most of them. There are a couple that I don’t get on with and I won’t name names but — mainly because I think they’re the type of people who — well they don’t — they’re not sufficiently gregarious sort of thing who get on with many people, they are introverted. I don’t know, they are not my cup of tea.

G McIntosh: Have you got a view on the role of the Senate. A lot of people have said, since the ‘70s when Murphy set up the committee system up there, and particularly because governments don’t control them these days. The senate performs a useful scrutiny function. Some people say, yes, that’s true, others say, no they obstruct. What view would you have of the Senate?

E Fitzgibbon: I find that the Senate committees and I wasn’t around in Lionel’s day of course, but I feel that on the PAC sometimes we have used material which has come from a Senate inquiry and usually they’re fairly well on the mark and that — well the answers that are there, that are stated from their various committees has been quite beneficial to us and quite useful. I think the Senate was very wise in a way. We refer to them as the B grade but they’re making their mark.

G McIntosh: Do you think that is good for government overall?

E Fitzgibbon: Well, yes, if it follows the right parameters. If it was just solely obstructionist, no, you wouldn’t because really. To expedite matters I believe in letting those in control govern sort of thing. The same as I have a view about letting the manager’s mange. They’ve been elected there. There for our support and confidence. Let them pick up the ball and run with it. Just all these piddling little daggers being thrust at them continually or these impediments and obstacles placed there doesn’t make for good government.

G McIntosh: Do you think parliament does that a lot to the Ministers? Does it put these impediments in their way or is it useful script?

E Fitzgibbon: Well I’ve never been a Minister and I’ve no desire to be one. I’m looking for a quiet place for my [INAUDIBLE] but I think that strong Ministers will brush aside all the obstructive paraphernalia and get on with the job. I don’t imagine a fella like Walsh, maybe Button or Keating, they’d say, get out of the way piss hand and that would be it. They’d go on and do what they want.

G McIntosh: Senator Walsh had some very interesting views for me.

E Fitzgibbon: Well I haven’t heard them because I couldn’t get …

G McIntosh: No, well he’s saw a lot of the Senate did as what you’d call piddling and obstructive, not substantive and party political, for party political reasons, rather than for good government.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, well I think the political alliances are possibly even more distinctly drawn in the Senate than perhaps they are in the House of Reps. The Reps there seems to be a — well I’m not sure I haven’t lived across there but there seems to be a greater, to some extent, a camaraderie or something. We’re similar to each other here whereas across there there’s bitchiness, I’ve heard comments from our side of the house, Newman and Waters, some of them, they’re not — apparently they’re not regarded with too much affection. I’ve named a couple of names, there are others perhaps. There are some in my party. I don’t think that I’ve said more than half a dozen words to say, Nick Bolkus since I’ve been a member here, but I don’t speak to Walsh that much. I might see when having a cup of tea or something like that, but I’ve not had a great deal to do with Bolkus. I haven’t had a great deal to do with Bolkus. I haven’t had a great deal to do with Staples not because he’s of the Left but well — I wouldn’t have normally had a great deal to do except that the last few months there has been a few problems [INAUDIBLE] but yes.

I guess — I didn’t even know until the other day that Margaret Reynolds was sick. The only reason I know that Margaret Reynolds is sick is that she was going to come up to my electorate. If there’s a government problem I might see Margaret but there haven’t been too many problems there. I wanted to confirm her visit and they said, ‘Yes, she’s ill at the moment, but that might go ahead’.

I often hear people complain about somebody’s a bastard because he won’t see you or he’s hard to get to. I think sometimes there the fault might be in the person who is making the criticism. [INAUDIBLE] sometimes it’s quite obvious that you don’t have to worry the Minister.

See Bob Brown and I have been friends for so many bloody years. Now he’s in the Ministry now. David Simmonds and I have a very friendly relationship but I’m not going to ring him up and say, we were mates once, now that you’re a Minister don’t bloody ignore me, sort of thing. I don’t do that because I know how bloody busy they are, but I’ll see him at the appropriate time. No hassles at all.

G McIntosh: A lot of people have raised the issue of party discipline and some people in the Labor Party have said, they ideally would like to see party discipline lessened, what’s your view on party discipline?

E Fitzgibbon: It’s never worried me. The public doesn’t understand the ramifications and the systems which are adopted down here. I made front page in all my papers saying that if they close one Post Office in my electorate I’d cross the floor and vote against the government. I knew I wouldn’t be reprimanded for that because I knew the closure of a Post Office wouldn’t be part of the legislative process so there would be no need for me to cross the floor, but it sounds good. You get away with things like that. Now party discipline, I think that had Campbell crossed the floor on wheat Bills.

G McIntosh: He seemed to get off that fairly lightly, do you think that …

E Fitzgibbon: On the wheat Bill?

G McIntosh: Yes.

E Fitzgibbon: Well what he do. He wasn’t here to vote. He was away. He had a sore wrist or something like that.

G McIntosh: I was thinking of the gold tax one.

E Fitzgibbon: Well that was a very gentle tap on the wrist, certainly, but then Campbell was well aware of the fact that he is in a peculiar position where it is doubtful as to whether anyone else would hold that seat as firmly as Graeme does. Obviously it seemed to be the right way for him to go. It didn’t embarrass really, not severely the government, and there was no prospect of us losing that vote. So it was just, what shall we say, it was just a spike to windmills on Graeme’s behalf.

G McIntosh: Do you think that should happen more often, or should allow that to happen more often?

E Fitzgibbon: Well there’s the [INAUDIBLE] around Harradine now. I happen to be a practising Catholic and I’ve got quite strong views on abortion. All those kids aborted. Immigration intake. We certainly — our population problems of aging and insufficient – well I think we should look at these. I think that any woman that had an abortion virtually has to be able to [INAUDIBLE] the baby’s funeral. I think that’s completely indefensible. I defend to a large extent a woman’s decision to have control over her own body. I’ve got a very — I’m not a hard liner on so many of these things. I’m very ecumenical I’m also very non-phased sort of thing about how others regard things. It’s a very difficult thing but Harradine. I begin to question the sincerity of Brucy Goodluck with that ragtag bloody amendment trying to get up here, you know, it’s just what. I think Harradine has made an art of pitching for the moralistic Catholic ….

G McIntosh: Well I think that’s his constituency isn’t it really.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, right.

G McIntosh: That’s it.

E Fitzgibbon: Some as the Reverend …

G McIntosh: Nile.

E Fitzgibbon: Fred Nile. But now I would imagine they’d allow a conscience vote on that. You can’t [INAUDIBLE] conscience vote.

G McIntosh: What about on non-controversial legislation?

E Fitzgibbon: My miners were getting the guts kicked out of them. They weren’t really, they had to be restructured in the industry, but there was no sympathy at all emanating from the government here. Kerin, I like Kerin, I get on great and have confidence in Kerin but I was pleading for a little bit of a windfall, sort of thing, from the Cabinet so that we keep the miners on side but nothing was forthcoming. Now, I felt like getting up and getting stuck into cabinet and putting what I believed to be true about the mining situation but I didn’t do that. I had to just grin and bear what was happening to me. My castration was something I had to accept. Now I don’t believe that there I should have been given the chance to cross the floor had there been a vote on mining issues. I think there has to be some control.

G McIntosh: Even if you would have won the vote overwhelmingly, it wouldn’t … I mean would it have mattered if you would have crossed the floor and the government still won easily. I mean would it really matter?

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, but how sincere am I in just doing that. It’s just a show of bravado. It’s a pointless exercise really. I believe in a fair degree of party discipline. I think if you join a party, Eric Fitzgibbon or all the other Labor people would not have got here because they had brilliant personalities or they found some wisdom. We got here because we’re a member of a political party.

G McIntosh: In Britain though, I mean, Thatcher’s government, a lot of her backbenchers, well not a lot, but they crossed the floor. It hasn’t brought her government down. People point to Australia as having the tightest party discipline in the world. Is there any room for us to go, not abandon it altogether because you’d have a shambles, but just a little bit more leeway?

E Fitzgibbon: No I think the, well the discipline within the Labor Party, throughout our history, has caused no great problem. How many people have walked away from the party as a result of being forced to tow a majority line? You can go back to Billy Hughes, sort of thing, walking out over referendum issues. You can come down to Joe Lyons, but those people grasped the main chance really. They saw that they were going to lose, you know caucus decision, so they elected to go out. George didn’t care because he was going anyhow. First it didn’t matter all that much to him. You’ll get a number of people walking away from the discipline imposed by the party but I think it’s a pretty tried and proven method really. I guess I favour it.

G McIntosh: Next area I’d like to ask you about, is just the new building. How do you see it in general? Do you think it will make any difference to the Parliament-Executive relations? A lot of people have talked about the lack of informal contact in this place, that sort of thing, how do you find the new building?

E Fitzgibbon: Well, there is a lack of informal contact. Now I used to come to the Old Parliament House and have breakfast but then I just lived in a motel but now I live in a unit so I don’t worry about that. I used to have a fair bit of contact with the people there. I don’t have lunch now. The only time I have lunch is if there is a luncheon meeting or something like that. I don’t go upstairs and eat unless I have guests here. So like last night there was the AWS shipping briefing, so that was a dinner briefing. So I had dinner there. Usually I don’t have dinner I just go home and have something when I go home. So now I can’t say that it’s lessened contact between myself and the Executive because the new house hasn’t induced that, it’s just the change in my own arrangements. Now I find it a pain in the arse to have to walk across there so I just don’t go to Ministers’ offices all that much now. I have a secretary here. I sent a person on errands. I still have ample opportunities to contact Ministers because I go to party caucus meetings. Now that opportunity is there for anyone.

G McIntosh: What about if you’re in Opposition though?

E Fitzgibbon: Well if I were in Opposition I don’t believe I would have any problems at all. I would — if I wanted something from a Minister I’d make a strong representation, just follow it up by grabbing him sometime. Then if he said, oh I don’t want to talk to you. Well then you’d kick up a hullabaloo or you’d — well that’s about all you could do really, but you’d attack that problem when you come to it. I’m not impressed by size. I think this is a magnificent building. I don’t think they’ve always got their priorities right. I don’t think we needed a TV so much as we need an office fax, for example. What good is a TV really? I suppose you can put it on there and just watch bad Chambers but outside that there is no real value to me whereas an office fax. If we get a fax now we’ve got to walk around to the bloody the ALP stenos, the government stenos and things like that. They ring us up and say, there’s a fax for you and got to go around and get it.

The house is most impressive. A hell of a lot of walking. All the committee rooms are to the buggery around there and I’ve got to stroll around there but I think things are working really well. The lifts are too bloody slow. I think they’re shocking lifts. I’ve never used my shower, why the hell did they give us an office this size. It was completely unnecessary. This office was intended for one, two, three secretaries. Now I have three secretaries. When federal parliament is not sitting the three secretaries are busy up in my electorate. When federal parliament is sitting I bring one secretary down here because I make good use of her, it suits me that way, some members don’t both bringing their secretary down here. I think that is probably a mistake because you can do a lot of work down here. But I’ll never have three secretaries down here because that would mean that each member’s secretarial staff would have to be increased to five or six and it’s not going to happen. Not even in two hundred years sort of thing. We’re moving further along the path of electronics and things of that nature so where’s the need. It’s not going to be there so why give us such a bloody — I’ve never used my shower here that doesn’t mean I don’t show. I don’t tend to use my shower here but then again I haven’t used the swimming pool or spa. I’m overweight now the condition and things like that. You’ve got your own ideas, what do you think of the place?

G McIntosh: I think it’s an impressive building and certainly members and Senators need decent office space. I don’t think I’ve spoken to anyone who has complained about the actual space compared to the old one. I’m not so keen on some other parts of the building.

E Fitzgibbon: Such as?

G McIntosh: Well I don’t like the front of it, the entrance where you come in. I think the big Members Hall really, it was supposed to be a place where members and Senators could mingle, but really it’s just a symbol. It’s so big.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes.

G McIntosh: I don’t think I’ve ever seen members in there other than at functions. I think the library is tucked away in the wrong spot.

E Fitzgibbon: Do you know I used to be a prolific user of the library. I haven’t been to any of the libraries at all.

G McIntosh: Do you think that’s the problem, because of the size?

E Fitzgibbon: No, well, I’ve just — years ago — they used to get the regional papers down here. I used to go up the library and read them and things. I just don’t go to the library now. I used to know a number of library staff, Diane Hawke and Rena and all. I used to see them each day and speak to them, you just don’t worry about it now.

[A conversation with one of his staff) Have you been to the library, Cynthia?

Cynthia: Yes.

E Fitzgibbon: How many times?

Cynthia: [INAUDIBLE]

E Fitzgibbon: I don’t think I’ve been to the library. Well I think I might, just after moving just had a look at them.

Cynthia: I’ve been through. I had a guided tour of the libraries.

E Fitzgibbon: How many are there two or three?

G McIntosh: There are two.

E Fitzgibbon: There are two libraries.

Cynthia: Yes the downstairs one that I ….

E Fitzgibbon: Come on which floors are they on?

Cynthia: The first floor and the second floor.

E Fitzgibbon: None on the ground floor?

Cynthia: Well which one is it?

G McIntosh: The ground floor.

Cynthia: The ground floor and the first floor, yes.

G McIntosh: And the second floor.

Cynthia: And the second floor.

E Fitzgibbon: You know the library boss in there, yes.

Cynthia: Well I know where the people I want to go up and see. I know where they are Dennis and ….

E Fitzgibbon: I’ve been to the Senate three times I think. I’ve been to the hospitality room if you want to call that part of the Senate. I bring people down here, pensioners, school kids and all that, I just never get to the Senate really. Not that it’s — not that they mind but the time they’re here they spend it so fruitfully, I guess, on the Reps.

What do you going to write? Now what are you going to concentrate on?

G McIntosh: Well I’m looking at three areas basically. Just what general views are on the Parliament-Executive relationship, whether people think the Executive is too dominant, whether they think the Parliament is scrutinizing the Executive effectively. The second area is the new building, what people think of that, and particularly how it might affect the Parliament-Executive relationship. The third area, which is the one I want to ask you lastly …

E Fitzgibbon: Just before you go past that. There are the means for the Parliament to scrutinize the Executive, very thoroughly really. The Public Accounts Committee, if the Minister for Finance and the Treasurer or something, if they haven’t produced documents or answers to our queries, we just — there are ways and means whereby we can objectively here, same with the Auditor’s Office and things like that.

G McIntosh: Are there enough of those committees and avenues though to cover the whole lot?

E Fitzgibbon: Well there is probably not enough committees. No, you’ve — the Joint House Committees, not everyone can be in them of course, but I think there is sufficient opportunity there if somebody were having a problem they should just see somebody who’s on a particular committee, Finance committee, probably Accounts, there are a number Joint House committees who bring those things to right ears and get some appropriate action. I find things work. Now we’ve never had with the PMs department or anything like that have we [speaking to his staff]?

There is the way of doing things.

G McIntosh: See Shadow Ministers will say, quite a few of them haven’t got extra staff, for instance, no more than a backbencher. Now they’ll say, ‘Look I’m covering a whole port-folio here. I’m supposed to be shadowing it, but I just don’t have the resources within this parliament to do it. It’s just too big. I’m competing against a bureaucracy of 20,000 people, Ministers staff of ten, and all the resources of government that the Shadow is supposedly there to keep an eye on it, to scrutinize and whatever, just can’t cover it.

E Fitzgibbon: Well, if that were true really. If the Executive had the power to sort of just put up a smoke screen and go their own way, sort of thing, and not be responsible to anyone well then surely they can so mask things that they would be there for ever and ever amen, but they’re not.

G McIntosh: Oh no well you’ve got elections. I mean constitutionally you have to have elections that sort of thing.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, I know, but why has there been such frequent changes in government. We’ve been here for six years but no party — well we’re not going to get a Menzies era again or that long twenty-three years of conservative rule. I believe that government of that tenure will probably not occur again, not in the foreseeable future. So there must be — well the freedom of information. You see some things on the notice paper — I think they are just time consuming exercises. I suppose they make use of material they glean but the Freedom of Information Act that insures the availability of any information they seek. Why have a secretary spending three weeks researching a topic when you put fifty questions down. Questions on Notice and drive the bloody Ministers office berserk trying to come up with all of these bloody answers. No wonder there is a delay in the provision of those answers but they’ll come through eventually. How do you feel about that bloody ….

G McIntosh: Well of some them put two hundred I think didn’t they, two hundred questions is just being silly.

E Fitzgibbon: What were you coming to next?

G McIntosh: Just the last one, just quickly. Have you got any view on changing or reforming the Parliament to make it work better or do you think it functioning pretty well at the moment? I mean the committee system in the House of the Reps at the moment, the new committees they set up last year haven’t got the power to set up their own references. I mean basically the Ministers can say no you can’t inquire into that now do you think the Parliament should have the power or the committees themselves should have the power to say, we’re going to investigate this.

E Fitzgibbon: Well let me show you my ignorance. I thought the committees had the power to inquire into anything. I believe that if the Senate moves, the Senate is going to have an inquiry into this. I don’t see why — how do you mean? Now the Senate can set up an inquiry if there is a desire to embarrass the government.

G McIntosh: The Senate committees have got more power overall …

E Fitzgibbon: Yes.

G McIntosh: … there is about fifty of them, most of them have power to determine their own references. The eight they set up last year in the house called Legislative General Purpose Committees, they have not got the power to determine their own reference. They can only get that if the relevant Minister says okay you can go ahead. So the Executive has got the power to determine what they follow.

E Fitzgibbon: The inquiries into matters of the PAC I thought that they would determine …

G McIntosh: I think the PAC is different. I’m talking about those eight new ones they’ve set up.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, right.

G McIntosh: They cannot determine their own terms of reference.

E Fitzgibbon: Well I’m not a member of any of those so outside the [INAUDIBLE] the PAC now I’m not a member of any of those. I would have thought they had the power well you’ve taught me something so I’m glad you visited but I think that they can make it very difficult for a Minister who wouldn’t approve their determination. Say particularly if it was a unanimous determination to inquire into something. They could get involved breaking out with the media just by breaking a few stories here and there would make it very uncomfortable for him. I think that, yes that’s a shackle imposed on them which is not desirable. I think they should have that power.

G McIntosh: What about Question Time, that’s one that always get a lot of media attention, what’s your views on that?

E Fitzgibbon: I think Question Time is very useful, an instrument that allows the public to be satisfied. If they stopped feeding the lions and denied public access and feeding the lions at the zoo, same sort of performance. All the members know that the public is going to be there and the media is going to be picking up on everything. So they are expected to act in a certain way and they don’t disappoint the viewers and those in attendance. I think it’s a charade. I really think that there should be, the clocks should work and a Minister should be given two minutes to answer a question. If any more time is required, he could say, well look I’ll provide tomorrow an elucidation of the answer I gave here today and it will be included in Hansard, something like that.

I haven’t really thought about it to that extent. I think quorums are a joke. I think that possibly — there have been attempts like those ninety second statements on Thursday, they’re a bit of a joke. I’m thinking I just received a notice from a school here saying that some young lad has been – where is it? A singer and a high school student has been chosen to represent Australia at the International Physics Olympiad in Warsaw. The only state school student to achieve this honour. I could probably get up on Thursday and mention that. Well, I’ll see [INAUDIBLE] in my electorate and somebody will be pleased. It’s a waste of bloody time but things like that are going on all the time.

G McIntosh: Quite a few members have said that’s been good, private members time, they see it as useful.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, I’d like more private members time but, are they using it wisely all the time, and what can you do in ninety seconds really. I think I’ve made one ninety second speech and I think I caused Colin Hollis to have palpitations to the heart because I’ve just noticed driving down about the collusion which exists in that bloody place where petrol was always about five cents about the national average. What’s the name of that? Mittagong is it?

Cynthia: Yes.

E Fitzgibbon: Because there is forty eight kilometres of freeway or something, so you are either coming or going, they sort of catch you. I thought I might do the travelling notice a bit of good if I mention that. Nobody ever denied or probably ever was aware that I said it but there’s been no feedback. I think it would be good really if there was some way whereby we could get the full parliament together a couple of times a day. I don’t know how you do that, it’s just a thought, but Question Time is valuable in so far as it’s got full media coverage. The Press Gallery is crowded. You’ve got the house there.

G McIntosh: Does it really mean — most of the action in this place doesn’t happen in the Chamber does it. I mean parliament the Chamber itself is not where the action is. Most of the decisions are made in Party Rooms.

E Fitzgibbon: Well the public think decisions are made in the Chamber, they’re not really …

G McIntosh: That’s right.

E Fitzgibbon: … there just rubber stamped there. The gestation period might be six months, twelve months, two bloody years, it goes through all the formative stages. It goes through the committees its then progresses and comes up before the Cabinet, then it’s either accepted or rejected, it might go back, it might be amended. It might go back in an amended form or something like that. Once it goes to the Chamber it’s a fait-accompli. People think that the debate — in my four years here I can’t recall ever, well anyone ever speaking so persuasively or passionately or anything like that where the government have said, well shit we’ll withdraw this legislation. Can you remember instances of that?

G McIntosh: No, it’s all decided in the Party Room.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes, but it’s always been that way hasn’t it?

G McIntosh: Yes, since about 1910 when the Parties were up and running and whatever.

E Fitzgibbon: Yes.

G McIntosh: But in a sense, I mean, when our Parliamentary text books, or text books on government talk about Parliamentary government I just wonder whether a more apt description would be party government because it’s Parties where the real action is, isn’t it. I mean they go to the electorate. Either the Liberal Coalition win or Labor win …

E Fitzgibbon: Yes.

G McIntosh: … and that’s really the engine room of what happens. Parliament is just a forum. So I wonder if party government is a better term, than Parliamentary government.

E Fitzgibbon: Well it certainly is party government. The same as the old misnoma about the Senate being the State’s house.

G McIntosh: Oh yes, that is just garbage.

E Fitzgibbon: It’s an affective party house as anywhere else.

G McIntosh: Yes.

E Fitzgibbon: Well I’m afraid I haven’t contributed anything much.

G McIntosh: No you have there is a lot of stuff there, a lot of good stuff.

E Fitzgibbon: Good luck to you guys.

G McIntosh: Well thank you very much for your time.