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Wednesday, 24 November 1971
Page: 3566


Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs) (Minister for National Development) - The motion for the suspension of Standing Orders, which has been seconded, deals with quite an important matter. I think everyone in the chamber would agree with a number of the points that have been raised in relation to the importance of committees of the House. No doubt the committee system has proven itself to a certain degree in the Senate. But the matter before us relates to a report from the Standing Orders Committee which was submitted to the House on 10th June 1970. The points that the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), quite within his rights, has raised today relate not to the report of the Standing Orders Committee but to an amendment which he moved in this House to the motion that the report of the Committee be adopted.

I have a copy of the report of the Standing Orders Committee before me. The matters which were brought forward by the Standing Orders Committee have been dealt with to the greatest degree possible by the House. So we are not discussing the suspension of Standing Orders to enable us to discuss a considered report of the Standing Orders Committee; what we are discussing is an amendment which has been submitted by the honourable member for Wills in which he suggested on his own initiative the establishment of quite a large number of standing committees of this House and outlined matters of detail in relation to them. This of course is a matter that requires careful consideration but I think it requires consideration by the Standing Orders Committee. The Government' Members Committee on House Procedures has brought a number of recommendations which have been approved by the joint parties of the Government and they have been prepared in the form of a memorandum to the Standing Orders Committee for its consideration. There is still another matter relating to committees which is being considered by the Government members committee and when it has finalised its consideration of it the matter will be considered by the joint Government parties. No doubt following that there will be some other memorandum for consideration by the Standing Orders Committee.

I suggest that this is the correct procedure. Ideas of this type should be discussed at length and debated in the forum which is established for that purpose within the caucus of the Opposition parties or within the joint meetings of the Government parties. Ideas which are formulated and recommended at those meetings can then be submitted to the Standing Orders Committee for consideration and then for report to the House for consideration by the House. This procedure is already been put under way by the Government parties. I suggest that if the Opposition wishes to consider this matter under what I believe would be the right procedure it should discuss this matter in its own caucus and then see that a proposal is submitted to the Standing Orders Committee, which is the right vehicle for the submission of a report to the Parliament. That is merely the background of the report that was submitted by the Standing Orders Committee and the amendment that was proposed by the honourable member for Wills.

Whilst I am sure we have some sympathy with the honourable member for Wills - I know of his desire to bring this important matter forward - he should follow the procedures I suggest. However this is not the matter we are really debating at the present time. We are debating the suspension of Standing Orders to allow matters other than those that are on the notice paper to be debated. We have some very important business on the notice paper at the present time. We on this side and I know honourable members opposite are waiting to commence the debate on some very important housing Bills and other matters of great importance. Whilst we recognise and take on board the points that have been raised by the 2 honourable members who have spoken, I can assure them that the matter they have raised is already under consideration on the Government side of the House and some submission will later be made to the Standing Orders Committee when we have had time to examine the situation fully. I only suggest that the Opposition should adopt the same procedure. In view of the circumstances and the fact that the Government wishes to proceed with the business of the House, we cannot accept the motion as proposed.







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