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Tuesday, 23 October 1984
Page: 2235


Senator HAINES(5.55) —I am afraid that I had considerable difficulty in taking Senator Chaney's speech any more seriously than on occasions he appeared to be taking it. I cannot understand how any Bill on which there will be 19 speakers can be considered in any way to have been gagged or how democracy can be impugned in any way by closing that debate. Nineteen speakers on the second reading of Appropriation Bills is quite ample. As Senator Chaney pointed out, it is perfectly normal at the end of each session, regardless of whether or how it has been curtailed, for guillotine or gag motions to be moved, and Oppositions produce the sorts of howls of protest that this Opposition has produced. This sort of thing will happen until and unless the Australian Parliament operates a regular and set schedule or permanent guillotine similar to those which operate in some other Westminster-type parliaments where it is normal practice for Bills to have time limits applied to them.

Senator Chaney raised the report of the Costigan Royal Commission on the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union. I suggest with respect to my friend Senator Chaney that that was something of a red herring, given the impassioned speeches yesterday, not least from Senator Durack, with regard to privilege attaching to that report and the Murphy report. There is no question that a number of these Bills have to be got through quickly. The Defence Legislation Amendment Bill, for a start, is urgent because, amongst other things, it establishes a Defence Force Tribunal which will give members of the Defence Force the right enjoyed by most other sections of the community of representation in their own industrial affairs, including pay fixing machinery. The Conciliation and Arbitration Amendment Bill and the Trade Practices Amendment Bill, which I would have thought the Opposition would have been as keen as we are to defeat, are a major feature of industrial relations and of considerable concern to a large number of people, not least small businessmen who deserve not to be kept in the sort of uncertainty that they are currently facing with regard to sections 45D and 45E. I do not think we or anybody else have to apologise for agreeing to the curtailment of tedious, lengthy and repetitive debate on some of those pieces of legislation.