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Thursday, 19 November 1959

Mr J R FRASER . - by leave - I move -

In paragraph (d), omit "six", insert "ten".

This amendment relates to the proposal we discussed previously. The Minister now proposes that the provision in the act that each instrument of variation must be tabled in the House for a period of fifteen sitting days, during which any member of the House or of the other place may move for its disallowance, shall be varied to reduce the period to six sitting days. Had the Minister been able to accept my first amendment to provide for statutory reference of each proposal to the joint committee, and an obligation on that committee to report, I would have been prepared to say that seven sitting days would be ample time. But, as the Minister was not able to accept that amendment, and as the committee of the House has voted against the amendment, I must insist on proceeding with this amendment to provide for a period of ten sitting days, not six sitting days, during which an instrument of variation must lie on the table.

For years the provision has been for a period of fifteen sitting days. The Minister now proposes to shorten that period to six sitting days, and I suggest that in the light of the rate of development taking place in this city a period of six sitting days is too short to permit any member of the Parliament to make himself familiar with the proposals and to allow him to study the plans, in conjunction with an inspection of the site of the proposed variation. There is more to a consideration of such plans than listening to the Minister explain them in the House, or reading an explanatory statement that may be laid on the table. Surely a member with an interest in those things, even if he does not himself live in the national capital, should be entitled to the opportunity to comprehend the proposals fully by visiting the site of any variation and informing himself on the plans. He would then be able to move for a disallowance of the variation if he disagreed with it.

I suggest that in those circumstances a period of six days is completely inadequate. I would agree to the reduction of the period from the existing fifteen sitting days to ten sitting days and, with the complete approval of the Opposition, I have moved the amendment to provide for ten sitting days as the period instead of the six proposed by the Minister.

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