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Wednesday, 29 November 1944

Mr HOLT (Fawkner) .- I understood the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) to say that clause 4 and clause 10 would be postponed until honorable members had an opportunity to read the two reports which have just been circulated.

Dr Evatt - No, I said that I would agree to the postponement of clause 10, and that was apparently acceptable to the honorable member for Barker.

Mr HOLT - I am concerned, not with what the honorable member for Barker agrees to, but with what this committee agrees to. It is utterly farcical to hand these reports to honorable members and before any one has had an opportunity to read them, ask them to agree to a clause which reads -

The agreement is hereby approved.

The agreement is contained in the schedule, and our attitude to it will be influenced by our reading of these reports. As we have not yet had an opportunity to read them, their distribution at this juncture is only so much windowdressing. I protest against this procedure, and I am amazed that some honorable members opposite have not registered their protest against the contempt which the Government is showing for parliamentary practice and the rights of honorable members in this chamber. As I stated, we have not had an opportunity to read the two reports which have just been circulated, whilst the third report has not yet come to hand.

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