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Friday, 24 August 1984
Page: 346


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(11.12) —It will be recalled that, contingent upon the report being adopted, I had a contingent notice of motion. However, before proceeding to put that, I seek leave to amend my contingent notice in relation to the Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill 1984 by including in it the reference to the Constitution Alteration (Interchange of Powers) Bill 1984 as contained in the second contingent notice of motion standing in my name. I also seek leave to amend my contingent notice by altering the title of this Bill as that has now been agreed to. My reason for doing so is to enable the proposed call of the Senate, to which we are now about to immediately proceed, to apply to the third reading requirement, not only of this Bill, the Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill or the Constitution Alteration (Terms of Senators) Bill but also so that this call need only take place once and that can also apply as the precondition to the third reading vote on the Constitution Alteration ( Interchange of Powers) Bill when we reach that shortly.

Leave granted.


Senator GARETH EVANS —Accordingly, pursuant to contingent notice of motion No. 15 so given and so amended I move:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent a call of the Senate being made forthwith in connection with the Third reading of the Constitution Alteration (Terms of Senators) Bill 1984, and the Constitution Alteration (Interchange of Powers) Bill 1984.

I indicate to the Senate that in recent years the procedure for a call of the Senate has been a most unusual occurrence indeed. The call of the Senate is a procedure whereby, as Odgers puts it on page 572 of Australian Senate Practice:

Upon an Order of the Day being read for a Call of the Senate, the President directs the Clerk to ring the bells for 3 minutes. At the conclusion of the ringing of the bells, the President informs Senators that their names will be called over alphabetically by the Clerk, and requests them to answer to their names. At the conclusion of the call-over, the President informs the Senate, either that all Senators have answered to their names, or that all Senators with the exception of Senators-have answered to their names. In the latter case, the President directs that the names of those who have not answered be again called.

The procedure is a fairly elaborate roll-call simply in order to determine that all honourable senators are here and present to the extent that it is possible for them to be so when the crucial third reading of a Constitution alteration Bill is put. Of course, it is crucial because of the constitutional requirement that such a third reading be carried, not just by an ordinary majority, but by an absolute majority of the whole number of the senators. The call process was originally designed as a procedure with a notice element built into it to enable senators to be given notice of the impending occurrence of such an important proceeding and then to be the formal precondition to that account of the third reading taking place.

There have been 17 occasions since Federation when calls of the Senate have occurred in relation to a Constitution alteration Bill or a group of Bills. The last such occasion in fact was in 1967. There have been no calls since even though there have been quite a number of occasions on which Constitution alteration Bills have been put forward. Since 1967 the practice has been to move a motion for the suspension of Standing Orders to dispense with the call and for the vote on the third reading to be taken in the ordinary way. There is only one instance, in 1936, when the full 21 days notice that is provided for in the Standing Orders in fact elapsed before the call took place. All the other calls occurred forthwith with appropriate suspensions of the relevant parts of the Standing Orders in question or with shorter periods of notice in fact being specified. Just for the record I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard two tables ; one laying out the occasions when calls of the Senate have occurred in all the years since Federation and the second table indicating those instances where Constitution alteration Bills have been passed in circumstances where the calls of the Senate have been suspended. I seek leave accordingly.

Leave granted.

The tables read as follows-

CALLS OF SENATE SINCE 1901

1906

19 September 1906

Constitution Alteration (Senate Elections) Bill 1906

2 October 1906

Constitution Alteration (Special Duties) Bill 1906

Constitution Alteration (State Debts) Bill 1906

1909

1 December 1909

Constitution Alteration (Finance) Bill 1909

Constitution Alteration (State Debts) Bill 1909

1910

16 November 1910

Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill 1910

Constitution Alteration (Monopolies) Bill 1910

1912

18 December 1912

Constitution Alteration (Trade and Commerce) Bill 1912

Constitution Alteration (Railway Disputes) Bill 1912

Constitution Alteration (Trusts) Bill 1912

Constitution Alteration (Corporations) Bill 1912

1913

9 December 1913

Constitution Alteration (Trade and Commerce) Bill 1913

Constitution Alteration (Corporations) Bill 1913

Constitution Alteration (Trusts) Bill 1913

Constitution Alteration (Industrial Matters) Bill 1913

Constitution Alteration (Railway Disputes) Bill 1913

Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill 1913

1914

11 June 1914

Constitution Alteration (Trade and Commerce) Bill 1914

Constitution Alteration (Corporations) Bill 1914

Constitution Alteration (Trusts) Bill 1914

Constitution Alteration (Industrial Matters) Bill 1914

Constitution Alteration (Railway Disputes) Bill 1914

Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill 1914

1915

14 July 1915

Constitution Alteration (Trade and Commerce) Bill 1915

Constitution Alteration (Corporations) Bill 1915

Constitution Alteration (Industrial Matters) Bill 1915

Constitution Alteration (Trusts) Bill 1915

Constitution Alteration (Railway Disputes) Bill 1915

Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill 1915

2 September 1915

Constitution Alteration (Senator's Term of Service) Bill 1915

1926

25 June 1926

Constitution Alteration (Industry and Commerce) Bill 1926

Constitution Alteration (Essential Services) Bill 1926

1928

14 September 1928

Constitution Alteration (State Debts) Bill 1928

1936

2 December 1936

Constitution Alteration (Aviation) Bill 1936

Constitution Alteration (Marketing) Bill 1936*

1944

23 March 1944

Constitution Alteration (Post-war Reconstruction and Democratic Rights) Bill 1944

1946

18 June 1946

Constitution Alteration (Social Services) Bill 1946*

Constitution Alteration (Organized Marketing of Primary Products) Bill 1946*

Constitution Alteration (Industrial Employment) Bill 1946*

1947

4 December 1947

Constitution Alteration (Rents and Prices) Bill 1947*

1965

2 December 1975

Constitution Alteration (Repeal of Section 127) Bill 1965

Constitution Alteration (Parliament) Bill 1965

1967

8 March 1967

Constitution Alteration (Parliament) Bill 1967

Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) Bill 1967

* Call of Senate occurred after 21 days.

* Call of Senate occurred after motion for Call moved by leave.

All other Calls occurred after suspension of Standing Order 283 or equivalent.

Table Office 23 August 1984

CONSTITUTION ALTERATION BILLS PASSED BY SENATE SINCE 1901 WHERE CALL OF SENATE SUSPENDED

1983

Constitution Alteration (Inter-change of Powers) Bill 1983

Constitution Alteration (Advisory Jurisdiction of High Court) Bill 1983

Constitution Alteration (Removal of Outmoded and Expended Provisions) Bill 1983

Notice of motion given for the suspension of S.O. 242 17 May 1983, amended and agreed to 18 May 1983.

Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill 1983.

Constitution Alteration (Parliamentary Terms) Bill 1983.

S.O. 242 suspended, by leave. 13 October 1983.

1982

Constitution Alteration (Fixed Term Parliaments) Bill 1981.

(1) Contingent Notice of motion for suspension of Standing Order 242 concerning Call of the Senate, 19 May 1982.

(2) Contingent Notice of motion for suspension of Standing Order 283, 10 November 1982.

(3) Contingent Notice of Motion for call of the Senate, 10 November 1982.

No. (1) moved and agreed to 17 November, Nos (2) and (3) withdrawn.

1977

Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill 1977.

Constitution Alteration (Senate Casual Vacancies) Bill 1977.

Constitution Alteration (Retirement of Judges) Bill 1977.

Constitution Alteration (Referendums) Bill 1977.

Contingent Notice of Motion for the suspension of Standing Order 242 given, 17 February 1977; moved and agreed to 22 February 1977.

1973

Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill 1973 [1974]

Contingent Notice of motion for the suspension of S.O.242 given, 13 November 1973, moved 20 November 1973, amended 28 November 1973 and agreed to 4 December 1983.

Constitution Alteration (Prices) Bill 1973

Contingent Notice of motion for suspension of Standing Orders to prevent a Call of the Senate given, 18 September 1973; moved 19 September 1973 and agreed to 26 September 1973.

Constitution Alteration (Incomes) Bill 1973

Standing Order 242 suspended, 26 September 1973.

Constitution Alteration (Mode of Altering the Constitution) Bill 1974 [1973]

Standing Order 242 suspended, 4 December 1973.

1951

Constitution Alteration (Powers to deal with Communists and Communism) Bill 1951

Standing Order 242 suspended, 12 July 1951.

1950

Constitution Alteration (Prices) Bill 1950

Standing Order 242 suspended, 31 October 1950.

1919

Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill 1919

Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill 1919.

Standing Orders suspended, 3 October 1919.

Table Office 23 August 1984


Senator GARETH EVANS —The practice of having a call, but without notice of that having been given formally to honourable senators, has occurred on a small number of previous occasions. The point I particularly want to make is that for a call to occur at all is, in terms of recent practice in this place, a very unusual occurrence indeed. I would not think as a result there should be any difficulty about the Senate accepting on this occasion, albeit with the notice requirement removed in the way that is proposed by my contingent notice of motion.