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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 2070

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) - I want to say a few words in opposition to the motion. A the end of each session we invariably have a discussion about proposed sitting times. On previous occasions, much to my horror and consternation, controversial Bills have been brought on for debate on the last day of a session and we have been told: 'You can discuss it if you like but by discussing it you will be keeping your colleagues here and preventing them from going home*. The result has been that important legislation has been passed through this chamber without the discussion it warrants. But on this occasion I am high in praise of the Government in its conduct of the business before the Senate.

Last week it was rumoured that the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill would come on for debate on the last day of the session, but we were assured by Senator Murphy that he had insisted in discussions that there be a full debate on it. The Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman) said today that it is an important Bill and that he would not want to curtail the speeches of the 7 Opposition senators who wished to debate it. That is an indication that he expects there to be a full debate on this Bill. In view of the number of clauses in the Bill it is obvious that the debate will not be concluded today but that it will have to continue on another day. There has been no suggestion that the Senate should sit for longer hours during the evening. It is agreed that it will be necessary for the Senate to sit beyond today. The Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate said that the Senate should sit tomorrow and then come back next Tuesday, which is recognition of the fact that it will be necessary for us to sit next week. By sitting tomorrow we will not avoid the necessity to sit next week. Therefore why should we depart from the usual pattern and sit tomorrow?

Senator Little To let you all talk on the Bill.

Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) I do not think that the unreasonable interjection that has come from the infantile mind of the honourable senator helps the discussion at all. It is not necessary to sit tomorrow. We have the whole of next week in which to debate that and other legislation. Therefore there is no need to depart from the usual pattern and sit on Friday. On previous occasions one of the inducements that has been offered to honourable senators to hasten legislation through on the final day was that they were booked on aircraft departing on a certain hour of that day and it would be dimcult to arrange alternative bookings. Everyone on this side of the House anticipated that he would be on aircraft either tonight or tomorrow morning and made arrangements accordingly. I appreciate that bookings can be altered. Nevertheless everyone has commitments, particularly those honourable senators who are active politically in their electorates.

Reference has been made to the fact that an important State election is to be held at the weekend. I should have thought that all honourable senators from Queensland would have wanted to be campaigning tomorrow for that election. It has been indicated by the discussions in this chamber that honourable senators on this side of the House regard that election as being of importance and want to be in their electorates as soon as possible. The only alternative for the Government is to be represented before Queensland electors by 2 Country Party senators who have not shown up too well in discussions in this House. Therefore an attempt is made to keep Labour politicians out of Queensland on this occasion as there is no effective competition for them in the Queensland electorate. That is the only possible explanatin for desiring to sit tomorrow. I oppose the motion and I say that we should come back next Tuesday.

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