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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr DALY (Grayndler) - I want to add a few words of protest to those that have already been launched from this side of the House. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden), who is the Leader of the House, whilst generally a very intelligent speaker, today uttered some of the most pathetic comments and views in support of the suspension of the 1 1 o'clock rule that we have heard in this Parliament. He said, for instance, that the Transport Officer wants to know when the session will end. f suppose the cook wants to know too. I suppose the doorkeeper and everybody around the place wants to know. But the Government, which is charged with the responsibility of running the affairs of this country, is bringing the staff into this argu ment and charging them in effect with being the reason why we have to rush into recess and sit in to the early hours of >he morning. Those reasons given by the Minister are specious in the extreme. The n.-al reason why the Government is rushing into recess at this stage is because it sat around for months, from October until the middle of March, and .refused to face the Parliament. Now, knowing full well that its political stocks are low, it seeks to debate in the middle of the night legislation which it knows will have a reaction with the general public.

Let us have a look at this legislation. The Minister a few weeks ago introduced a proposal which he said would give us a chance to debate matters in an orderly atmosphere, reasonably and well, and that the House would adjourn each night at 1 1 o'clock. Almost in a moment today, yesterday and the day before he destroyed his good intention by suspending the 1 1 o'clock rule, which he said was brought in so that wc could have reasonable debate. The real fact of the matter is now we will be expected to debate in the early hours of the morning ali these important matters in which the nation is so interested. Who is about in Canberra in the early hours of the morning? 1 suppose there are perverts, prostitutes and politicians. They are the only ones who will know that Parliament is meeting at this time. A few undesirables around the street will look at the lonely, weary looking Liberal Ministers going home and say: There they are. To escape their proper condemnation in the eyes of the public they sneak around the streets like us in the early hours of the morning, so ashamed of their policies that they will not debate them in the ordinary hours'.

Let us have a look at the effect of this on honourable members. Anybody who looks at the Ministers in daylight when they are debating matters in this Parliament can see that they are aging, worn out, worried, discontented and dissatisfied. Apart from that it displays remarkable incompetence even at question time and at this hour of the day. Imagine asking Government members to act intelligently in the early hours of the morning, as we are now expected to do. Imagine what Liberal members opposite, who ad J little to the debate at this hour of the day, will be doing in the early hours of the morning. I venture to suggest that the vast majority of Government backbenchers will be asleep and most of the Liberal Ministers will look that way in the early hours of the morning.

In addition to that, Mr Speaker, have you ever thought of the effect of sitting into the early hours on a man in your position in the Chair? You sit there, day in and day out, listening to the tedious replies given by Government members and Ministers at this hour of the day. Now you will be expected, after long' and tedious, hours in your responsible task which is mainly occupied by keeping Government members in order, to sit there until 2, 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning and make your life a real misery. Irrespective of the remuneration that you receive, I think it is unfair to you as the responsible officer of this Parliament to be expected to sit into the early hours of the morning and then front up here the next morning and be intelligent enough to carry out your responsibilities.

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