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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 175

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE(6.55) —We are debating the Consititution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill 1984 and the Constitution Alteration (Interchange of Powers) Bill 1984, and not for the first time. The Constitution alteration proposal intended to provide for simultaneous elections of both Houses of Parliament is nothing more than an absolute sham. It is a cynical exercise in political expediency. It is a confidence trick of the worst kind, cast by the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) and the Prime Minister of the day, Mr Hawke, thanks to a temporary aberration in the minds of the voters. It is seeking to make virtue out of a constitutional reform for the purpose--

Senator Gareth Evans —Why did your Party support it in '74, '77 and '83?

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —I never have, and so far I have not lost. I am on the side of the angels and if Senator Evans were so satisfied that the majority of the people of Australia supported his proposition, he would not have needed to put away in a slush fund, as it was described by Senator Walters, an amount of $ 2 1/2m to seek to brainwash the people by deception and confusion.

Senator Gareth Evans —You can't wash many brains with $2 1/2m.

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —Senator Gareth Evans was doing his very best. The truth of the matter is that the Attorney-General has suspended his integrity. He has suspended his real and serious pursuit of constitutional reform for the purpose of, as I say, political expediency. He is seeking now not to achieve what he pretends to be achieving but to achieve absolutely the opposite, that is, to ensure that there are more elections and not fewer elections.

Debate interrupted.