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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2307


Senator JACK EVANS(12.34) —by leave-By way of amendment to Senator Peter Rae's amendment, I move:

Leave out all words after ', but the Senate is of the opinion that', insert ' successive Australian Governments from 1975 to 1984 should be condemned, in that :

(a) the Fraser Government from 1975 to 1983 pursued economic policies which-

(i) by encouraging private foreign borrowings by Australian companies in anticipation of a resources boom, have saddled Australia with a huge foreign debt,

(ii) by deliberately allowing unemployment to increase in order to reduce inflation have created a society where over 2 million people are unemployed, under employed or are hidden unemployed,

(iii) by deliberately seeking to gain political benefit through creating confrontation and conflict, gained Australia the world reputation of an unstable country torn by industrial strife, and

(iv) by pursuing taxation policies designed to win votes created a regime of taxes which are inequitable and stifle individual initiative and enterprise; and

(b) the Hawke Government has presented a Budget which fails to take account of or to provide for the correction of the serious state of the economy, namely, that in Australia-

(i) public debt in 1984-85 is estimated to be $90 billion, which involves an average interest bill of $34 per week for each taxpayer,

(ii) the Bureau of Agricultural Economics has forecast an expected decline of 29 per cent in rural production in the year 1984-85,

(iii) manufacturing production in the June quarter 1984 actually fell by 0.7 per cent, continuing a trend of decreasing growth over the past 18 months, and

(iv) Australia's unemployment rate remains above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average'.


Senator Peter Baume —Mr President, is it possible to wait 15 seconds until we see the amendment? We cannot vote on the matter until we have seen it.


The PRESIDENT —The question before the Chair is that the words proposed to be left out by Senator Jack Evans's amendment to Senator Peter Rae's amendment be left out.


Senator Harradine —Mr President, I have not seen these amendments. I have not had sight or sound of these amendments. One has been put in my hand now. How am I supposed to vote on the amendment when it has just been put in my hand? This is a farce that has been imposed upon us by the Government and the Australian Democrats in gagging this debate. I am not going to stand for this because there are a number of points that I want to raise in the Committee stage.


The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Harradine, I call you to order.


Senator Harradine —Those matters go to a very major question indeed.


The PRESIDENT —Senator Harradine, will you please resume your seat.


Senator Harradine —Mr President, those matters-


The PRESIDENT —Order! I warn Senator Harradine.


Senator Harradine —Mr President, I raise a point of order on what is occurring at this time. Mr President, you are proposing to put a motion to the Senate relating to amendments which honourable senators have not seen. I ask you to rule that this Senate is entitled to have an amendment placed before it in such time that senators can read and absorb the implications of it before they are forced to vote on that amendment.


Senator Robert Ray —On a point of order: Senator Harradine is the only one in this chamber who is grandstanding and objecting to leave being granted. It is up to any one of the 64 senators if they have not seen the amendments to come before-


Senator Harradine —Leave was not granted to me a while ago and you know it.


Senator Robert Ray —It is up to the Senate whether leave should be granted. If Senator Harradine does not want to vote on these amendments-he has not seen them , and there is some justice in the points he makes-he can object to leave being granted and they cannot be moved in those circumstances.


Senator Chaney —Mr President, I raise a point of order. I rise basically to support the rulings that you have made. In my view the position that we are in is one which is difficult for honourable senators, for the reasons that Senator Harradine has mentioned. The fact of the matter is that you are faced with a motion of the Senate, which was opposed by the Opposition, imposing the guillotine. It was supported by the majority of senators-the Government and the Australian Democrats-and we are now faced with the circumstances in which these motions must be put. Mr President, you asked whether the Senate would give leave for a motion which Senator Peter Rae gave very clear warning to the Senate about -


Senator Peter Rae —And circulated.


Senator Chaney —And circulated during the second reading stage. I think that the Senate was right to give leave to permit what the Government said could occur to occur. I am, therefore, pleased that we will have a chance to vote on Senator Peter Rae's amendment which was moved on behalf of the Opposition. I am not aware of whether the Australian Democrats previously circulated their amendment. To my knowledge they did not. I do think that the difficulty is a very real one when the Democrats have not previously circulated the amendment. However, the fact of the matter is, as I understand it, that the Senate also gave leave to the Australian Democrats to move their amendment to the Rae amendment. In those circumstances there is nothing out of order in our proceeding to vote on the two amendments, which is what I think you, Mr President, had in mind. If I may trespass very modestly on the point of order, the Democrat amendment is clearly unacceptable to the Opposition. We will be opposing it, but I realise I do not have the opportunity to canvass what I regard as the quite outrageous and ridiculous assertions whilst I am on my feet on a point of order.


The PRESIDENT —Order! I do not uphold Senator Harradine's point of order.


Senator Harradine —Pursuant to standing order 429, I object to the ruling or decision that Mr President has given.


The PRESIDENT —Senator Harradine, will you put it in writing.


Senator Harradine —It is in writing. Mr President--


The PRESIDENT —Order! The matter does require immediate determination. I suggest that the Minister for Social Security move accordingly.