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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 860


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(10.16) —I move:

That after consideration of Government Business Orders of the Day Nos. 1 and 2, the Australian National University Amendment Bill 1984 and the Canberra College of Advanced Education Amendment Bill 1984, intervening business be postponed until after the consideration of General Business Order of the Day No. 106, Australian Waters (Nuclear-Powered Ships and Nuclear Weapons Prohibition) Bill 1984.

I will speak very briefly to that motion. The Opposition has seldom sought to rearrange the business and has largely left the setting of business in the hands of the Government. I acknowledge that on many occasions the Government has co- operated with the Opposition in providing opportunities for debate. However, on this occasion, as I indicated when Senator Chipp gave notice of the Australian Waters (Nuclear-Powered Ships and Nuclear Weapons Prohibition) Bill on Monday, it is the view of the Opposition that the importance of the subject matter is such that we do not believe it is desirable that the Bill should simply remain on the Notice Paper. Given that we have no period for General Business this week because of the sitting of Estimates committees tomorrow, this is the last opportunity that we realistically have for dealing with this Bill this week.

The Bill goes to the ability of Australia to co-operate with its major ally, the United States of America. In the view of the Opposition, it raises significant doubts about our full participation in the ANZUS Treaty. In the view of the Opposition it is not desirable that a Bill of this nature should remain on the Notice Paper without the view of the Parliament being clearly determined. For that reason we would like to see this Bill dealt with today, debated today and indeed voted on today. That is the reason for moving this motion. In the interests of reasonable Senate housekeeping we have proposed that the Bill should not be brought on until the Australian National University Amendment Bill and the Canberra College of Advanced Education Amendment Bill, which are partly dealt with, are concluded. After that, we would seek the earliest possible debate of this Australian Democrats measure.