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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - I move:

That standing order 103 (eleven o'clock rule) be suspended until the end of this period of sittings.

Over very many years, at least sinceI have been a member of this House - and it certainly was true before I came into this place - it has been usual for the House to suspend the 1 1 o'clock rule towards the end of the session. The motion I moved to suspend the 1 1 o'clock rule is introduced later this year than is usual. Last week the 1 1 o'clock rule was suspended for a day, the Wednesday. Standing order 103 prevents the introduction of new business after the hour of 11 p.m. The purpose of my motion is to suspend that standing order so that new business can be introduced after that hour.

If honourable members look at the notice paper for today they will see about 30 items, in a legislative sense. Some of those items are Bills which are interrelated and the notice paper does not fully disclose the situation. At first glance it does appear to be a very heavy legislative programme but upon examination it will be seen that it is not as heavy as appears at first glance. However it is necessary, towards the end of the session, to bring forward for debate by the Parliament after 1 1 p.m. legislation which would not require long debate and which very likely would not be opposed by the Opposition. It is necessary also at this stage of the sittings for the House to be able to deal with amendments, if any are made, to legislation returned from the Senate.

The question of when the House will rise is in the mind of every honourable member. There is hardly anybody who does not say to me when I pass him. in the corridor: 'When are we getting up?' The staff of Parliament House also wishto know - the Clerks, the attendants, the Hansard staff, the people of the Joint House Department who arrange for the meals, cups of tea and so on.It is true to say that people representing the public media who report the proceedings of Parliament, another area of importance to the Parliament, are involved in this matter. They also wish to know when the House will rise in order that they can make their plans. One of the people in this place who does so much for all honourable members, Mr Gordon Pike, whose duty it is to arrange transport, also would like to know. I would like to be able to give a firm answer but I cannot do so. I can only say that by Friday the House could complete consideration of the legislation which needs to be passed in this session. It could complete it. Whether it does so remains to be seen. 1 cannot carry the matter beyond that.

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