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Thursday, 1 March 1973
Page: 136


Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Leader of the House) - I move:

That, unless otherwise ordered, in all standing orders relating to the taking of a division or the counting of the House or Committee for quorum purposes, references to 1 minutes be suspended and 3 minutes apply in place thereof.

I do not intend to speak at great length on this motion, other than to say that its purpose is to extend from 2 minutes to 3 minutes the time that the bells will ring to summon members for a division or quorum. This is a temporary measure only, to apply while the alterations to Parliament House are being carried out. Members will know that the office of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and the Cabinet room have been temporarily relocated in the Senate wing which was completed last year. Having a look at honourable members opposite, I think that even the most active of them would have to reach near-Olympic standard to get between that office and the chamber within 2 minutes, and a few honourable members I see opposite might not get to the chamber in 2 days. These temporary offices are as far away from the chamber as it is possible to get.

Renovations to this place are extensive. I do not say this in any political sense, but on the eve of the election, for some unknown reason, the Liberal Party decided to demolish the Prime Minister's suite. To make sure everything went, the old Cabinet had to go too. I understand that these offices will not be replaced or rebuilt even if the job proceeds with great speed, until the commencement of the Budget session. This means, of course, that the Prime Minister and Cabinet are now located at the very far corner on the Senate side of the Parliament In addition, a number of private members are on the Senate side also. In other words, they arc a long, long way from where we constantly have to assemble for the business of government. Whilst others may not believe so, I believe that the Prime Minister has the right to participate in votes in this Parliament when he so desires. This applies to every honourable member. Every facility should be made available in order that a l honourable members may be able to enter the chamber in time to take part in the divisions that take place. Not only the Prime Minister is involved. Meetings of Cabinet sub-committees could be taking place and the members who are located in that distant part of the building may find that, when the passages are crowded with members rushing along, they will not be able to reach this chamber in time. Of course, the dignity of the Senate must be considered. Senators may not want to see members rushing wildly through their corridors, disturbing the placidity of that august chamber. This kind of thing must be avoided - if not for the benefit of the persons directly concerned, then to maintain the high standard of dignity and decorum of those in another place.

In contrast to the situation in which some honourable members on this side have been placed - this may have been the luck of the draw, I suppose, although there were some disputes about what room would be occupied by whom - the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) and the de facto Deputy Leader of the Opposition are all located in offices that are very close to this chamber. I suppose that 2 or 3 steps would take them into this place. We do not quibble at that in any way. But it is only reasonable to say that during the time Parliament House is undergo- I ing renovations the time for the ringing of the

I division bells should be extended. That is why today I have formally moved this motion. I hope that it will be accepted. I know that there are great issues to come before the Parliament, but I cannot imagine that an extension of one minute will make that much difference to the deliberations of this House.

I commend the motion to the House and hope it will be supported. I am doing this in a quite non-political way, in the interests of the Parliament and the members of it. I do not have any ulterior motive of giving favour to anyone; rather do 1 seek that the Prime Minister, other members of the Cabinet and those other honourable members who are situated in offices on the far side of Parliament House be given an equal opportunity to participate in debates and divisions without running the risk of having heart attacks, falls or anything of that nature on their way to this august place. I commend the motion to the House and I hope that it will be supported as [ a temporary measure.







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