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Thursday, 2 December 1965

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) .- I should like to make an appeal to the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) on this matter. We have had a number of submissions made in relation to this clause as to why the sixth item which was in the previous Attorney-General's original catalogue has not been included. I do not know what technique the present Attorney-General adopts with respect to this debate but I am sure that, as the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Giles) suggested, it would save a certain amount of argument if the Attorney-General were to reply immediately to proposals that are made. I do not think the debate is any better because more, rather than fewer, people speak. We still have a long way to go to get to the end of this Bill. I believe that the debate would be improved if, when a genuine question is raised on either side of the Committee, the Attorney-General were to give an answer immediately. He is not in the same position as the rest of us who are able to speak only twice on a clause. He can talk on any clause as often as he likes.

I suggest that the Attorney-General would save a lot of bother if he would indicate immediately what his attitude is. After all, I can understand that some honorable members on this side of the chamber may be in some doubt as to why certain things have been eliminated from the Barwick proposals, but from what the honorable member for Angas has said he also is in doubt - and he is on the Government side - as to why certain changes have been made. I think that the debate could be short circuited and that it would be much more effective if, when genuine queries are raised, the Attorney-General would give his views as soon as they are raised. The diversionary tactic of my friend from Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) in raising the matter of trade unions might be very good politically, but I think we are all agreed that trade unions do not come within the ambit of this legislation.

Mr Whitlam - The union he mentioned - the Australian Workers Union - is applying to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for award wages for Aborigines.

Mr CREAN - I am not going to enter into any argument on that. All I am saying is that trade unions do not come within the scope of this legislation. I hope that the Attorney-General will accept the suggestion I have made. When a genuine query is raised he should reply to it. He should state whether he is going to accept an amendment or not, and if not he should state why. I think the debate would proceed much more expeditiously if he did that.

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