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Monday, 4 June 1984
Page: 2416


Senator HARRADINE(3.39) —If nobody else is about to move that these papers be taken note of, I will. I move:

That the Senate take note of the papers.

The documents that we have before us are indeed historical documents. We should note the documents because only a fool ignores the lessons of history. The documents detail the correspondence between the then Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Fraser, and the Governor-General in which the then Prime Minister sought a double dissolution of the Houses of Parliament. They set out the reasons advanced by the then Prime Minister for a double dissolution of Parliament.

Can anyone listening to this debate remember the grounds for the double dissolution? I guarantee that very few people listening to the debate would remember the grounds for the double dissolution. They are set out in these documents. The then Prime Minister said to the Governor-General that the Senate had rejected or failed to pass 13 Bills. Those Bills are enumerated. Do honourable senators remember them? They were the sales tax Bills Nos 1A to 9A and four other Bills-the Canberra College of Advanced Education Amendment Bill, the States Grants (Tertiary Education Assistance) Amendment Bill, the Australian National University (Amendment Bill) and the Social Services Amendment Bill. Were they matters of great import to the electorate at the time of the last election, in 1983? Of course not. I doubt whether they were even mentioned during the run-up to the election but they triggered the section 57 requirement so as to enable the then Prime Minister to call a premature election. The then Prime Minister then made this statement on 3 February 1983, as contained on page 41 of these documents:

Clearly there is a need for the Government, in the critical period we face, to have decisive control over both Houses of Parliament.

Not only did he not achieve that but also he lost his majority in the House of Representatives.


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Colston) —Order! The time for consideration of reports has expired.