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Tuesday, 17 November 1959

Mr HAYLEN (Parkes) . - I agree with what has been said by the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) and the the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) concerning the time factor, but the matter goes deeper than that. The whole basis of our approach is that we must be sure that we are doing the right thing in our legislation. Clarity has been the catchword of the Attorney General, but now, when the legislation has been forced through a division on the motion for the second reading and we come to the committee stage, we find that he is utterly confused. He does not know which of the 56 amendments should apply here and there. Despite the defence offered by the Leader of the Opposition as this is a non-party measure, we speak as we feel the AttorneyGeneral has not established, in my view, the relevancy of time. One amendment seems to cancel out another; one question cancels out another. Is that the atmosphere in which a question so vital as divorce legislation should be dealt with?

Obviously, the honorable member for Grayndler has touched the heart of the matter when he says that, though this is alleged to be a bill upon which every one can speak freely, the bludgeon has been produced in the Government party rooms. When the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) declared to his sycophantic followers how he would vote, it became obvious just what they would do. I am sure that that was quite enough for most members of his party. The point that I return to concerning clause 2, is that there is in no sense a feeling of security, or an awareness of the way in which the Government is going in regard to this vital legislation. It is all wishywashy. The Minister has not justified the faith that we must have in him if he is to push forward with this important legislation. We who oppose it on this side find in this clause another indication of vacillation and we number it among the 56 signs of weakness in what was supposed to be a perfect piece of legislation. About the only record established so far has been in regard to the number of amendments brought down - amendments which even the Minister himself does not appear to understand.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.

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