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Thursday, 14 May 1970

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - The motion that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) is to extend the time which would be allowed for notice No. I General Business today, which is a motion to be moved by my friend and colleague, the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes). In the debate this morning, from memory, there were either 4 or 5 speakers from this side of the House.

Mr Whitlam - There were 5 speakers plus the Minister.

Mr SNEDDEN - J am informed that there were 5 speakers from the Government side plus the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen). Subsequent to that the Leader of the Opposition moved his motion, lt was nol unexpected because this morning there was a little bit of tactical play on the Opposition side, and I have no doubt that there was tactical play on our side of the House. The end result of it was that nobody on the Opposition side spoke to the motion then before the House. The motion by the Leader of the Opposition to- suspend Standing Orders is an attempt by" the Opposition to recover its ground and has the immediate impact of having prevented notice No. 2 standing in the name of my friend and colleague, the Government Whip, the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox), from coming on. He would be moving for a select committee. My understand is that the select committee has the support of both sides of the House, and it was expected that we would have had 15 minutes from 12.45 to 1 p.m. in which to discuss this matter. That time was to be equally divided between the honourable member for Henty and the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson).

Mr Whitlam - That still stands.

Mr SNEDDEN - The Leader of the Opposition says that that still stands. The arrangement might still stand, but by moving his motion he has eliminated the time slot that was available for it, that is, from 12.45 to1 p.m. Not onlydid he do that, but by pursuing this course he is running the risk of eating very deeply into the time allotted for the committee stage of the National Health Bill. The other impact of this attempt on the part of the Opposition to recover its position, which it abdicated this morning, is to defer the introduction of 3 Bills for which notice was given yesterday.

My reaction to all this is that these things should not occur. We should not put off the introduction of these 3 Bills merely because of the action of the Opposition and in particular the Leader of the Opposition. When we get these divi sions over - and no doubt there will be divisions - if there is enough time I will move the appropriate motion to allow an extra 15 minutes for General Business to consider notice No. 2 so that the honourable member for Henty and the honourable member for Dawson can have the authority of the House for a select committee. I will then not introduce the Bills that were on the notice paper so that the committee stage of the National Health Bill can be resumed by at least 2.30. It may be a minute or two earlier, depending on how much time is taken by the Opposition on divisions. That is the programme I propose. I now move:

That the question be put.




Question resolved in the affirmative.

Question put:

That the motion (Mr Whitlam's) be agreed to.

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