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Thursday, 18 November 1976

Mr YOUNG (Port Adelaide) -The Opposition is not opposed to these Bills. I should like to make some remarks concerning the provocation offered by the Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) when he spoke a few minutes ago; I shall be very brief. He accused the Opposition of not putting up speakers. It is not the practice of the Opposition to put up speakers merely for the sake of speaking. The Opposition has taken the attitude that members of the Opposition will speak on Bills which we consider important dealing with those areas in which we feel we ought to be expressing a view. However, we do not believe that it is in the interests of the Parliament or of the people merely to spend time speaking to Bills which concern procedural matters. If it is the wish of the Government that we put up more speakers, we can do that and thus delay the legislation and the rising of the House. The actions of the Opposition throughout the year have been to speak, when necessary on those matters, and on that legislation which is important to us.

The Customs Amendment Bill is one of the matters which concern the rules of origin in the one-half area content whereby certain powers are being vested in the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Howard) to be operated by his Department, which can be earned out, perhaps, without the information being passed on to the Parliament. There have been occasions when complaints have been received from industry about being left in the dark in relation to actions that have been taken by the Department without the Parliament being notified and, subsequently, without interested parties outside the Parliament being notified. I would have thought that whilst we agree, particularly in the case of Papua New Guinea, with giving the Minister discretion to waive the one-half rule, it is perhaps appropriate on occasions when that power is used for the Parliament to be notified. We have no objection at all to encouraging this discretion to be used in order to see that the economic independence of Papua New Guinea may be assisted. I just make those comments. Perhaps the Minister can take them into account when the discretionary power is used. Therefore, on behalf of the Opposition I put it to the House that we have no opposition to the Bills.

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