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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 1630

Senator BUTTON (Leader of the Government in the Senate)(11.53) —I appreciate what Senator Harradine has said, in the spirit in which I believe it has been said. However, I want to correct one thing that he said. It is not the tactic of the Government in making this move relating to General Business to try to bury the issue which is at the central point of his Bill. Senator Harradine said that if it is not dealt with in this Parliament he will bring it on in the next Parliament. It would be our anticipation that he would do so, as he is absolutely entitled to do, and the issue would have to be dealt with. The tactic of the Government is to get a number of items of Government Business through. Senator Harradine referred to what his anticipations had been up until last Monday. Of course, on Tuesday an election was announced and the House of Representatives will presumably rise today. It is in that atmosphere that we are concerned that we do what is very frequently done by governments at this time of the year in similar circumstances and with an election in the offing and that is to try to dispose of essential Government business.

I particularly noted Senator Harradine's point about the time having expired for a move to disallow certain regulations. I have accepted that the issues in his Bill have to be addressed by this Parliament. That can be done in one way or another, be that by his Bill or the move to disallow the regulations.

Senator Harradine —That's gone.

Senator BUTTON —I understand that, but the same issues will be there, and the same members will have to confront them in one form or another. I apologise to Senator Harradine in the sense that we have a different set of priorities in terms of Government legislation from those which he has indicated in relation to his Bill, but I am afraid that that is inevitable at this stage. I put those matters on record. I recognise that, of course, the Bill has to be dealt with in due course.