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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2396

Senator TOWNLEY(11.41) —I usually make a practice of thanking a lot of people towards the end of any parliamentary session and, of course, we have come to the end of this one a little earlier than the festive season. I remember that last year I thanked the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) for being our Claytons Attorney-General. I am not going to say that this year but I think that some of the things he has said over the last 24 hours have proven what I said last year. But I will not go into that at this stage.

I would like to thank not only Mr Roberts but all the people from Hansard. I noticed a lady come into the chamber tonight with a bow on her machine which I thought meant that she had a birthday today. I will have a birthday soon. It is a birthday that I am not really looking forward to.

Senator Collard —Why not?

Senator TOWNLEY —It will be my fiftieth birthday and I am not looking forward to it. Some people do not even get to a fiftieth birthday. I thank all the people in Hansard for the way in which they have looked after my speeches and made them much more readable than perhaps the way I presented them.

I thank not only the people here in Canberra but also those around the country who arrange the transport for all of us. I do not know whether we always notice the things that are done for us by the transport people and the attendants around this chamber, but I certainly notice and appreciate these things, and I thank them. They are always very attentive to the needs of senators and in fact in a lot of ways I think they spoil us to a very great degree.

I especially thank the staff of the refreshment rooms for the way in which they have looked after me and my health during the last 12 months.

Senator Button —Invaluable service to the country too, Senator.

Senator TOWNLEY —They have been of invaluable service. If they have looked after you, Senator Button, they have been of invaluable service because I can assure you that there are many senators on your side whom I regard as much more deleterious for the country than you. One of them was not here for a lot of today. I have had a lot of help from the people in the members dining room, in the private dining room and all around this Parliament House from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms. I thank those people, a lot of whom have had a very difficult time because of the crazy sitting hours this Senate now has. Why on earth should they have to arrange their time-table to suit us? Why occasionally does not this Senate think of something sensible for the staff of this place rather than just the people who come here periodically- as it is now, two weeks here and two weeks away? I think any doctor would say that the sitting hours we now have are not suitable. Once again we are sitting too late at night, thanks most probably to the vote of the Australian Democrats.

Senator Gareth Evans —Thanks to you. Why don't you sit down and shut up?

Senator TOWNLEY —Mr Clayton, the guy who has not been here for 24 hours or more, when the matter of the security of this country was brought up in the Senate, says: 'Why don't you sit down and shut up'. Again he opens his trap when he ought to keep it closed. When is Claytons going to learn that he should keep his trap shut a bit more often? When he does he will be a lot more popular around this country, not only in Tasmania. After the lies he gave the Australian Broadcasting Corporation today-

Senator Gareth Evans —On a point of order, Mr President. 'Lies' is a thoroughly unparliamentary expression, even coming from someone who is incapable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood.

The PRESIDENT —Order! I ask Senator Townley to withdraw that expression.

Senator TOWNLEY —I withdraw the word 'lies'. I shall say untruths instead.

Senator Gareth Evans —That is very big of you.

Senator TOWNLEY —Again we get a smart remark from the Attorney-General who says: 'That is very big of you'. Let me tell him that I have shoulders at least as wide as his. I could say the very words he said to me when I was trying to help him go to Melbourne to see his wife get her doctorate at Melbourne University. Those words would be unparliamentary and would not even be allowed in front of the pornographic video censorship group. I would never think of using them in this place, and that is the reason why I call the Attorney-General 'Claytons'. He is the Attorney-General you have when you do not have an Attorney-General.

I wish to thank the transport officers who have helped me, the printing office which has done a lot for me, and the Press who have done some very sensible reporting about a lot of matters that have come before the Senate. I also wish to thank the many people who have helped and supported this Senate during the last 12 months. I pass on my usual greetings of the year to everyone in the Senate and the very many people who have supported us. I thank them for everything they have done.