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Thursday, 18 November 1976

Mr BRYANT (Wills) -Am I to understand that this legislation is to proceed through the House forthwith and into the other place without proper consideration? I make it quite clear that I might agree with this legislation or I might not but I do not agree with the procedure and I will tell the House why. We are putting into the hands of people who last year broke every tradition in the book, who stole power in this country against all the traditions of parliamentary government, the right to refuse in courts to produce documents and all the rest. However that is by the way and I would not have said it except for interjections from honourable members on the Government side. The fact is that here we have a complicated piece of legislation which I do not claim to understand. I know full well that the honourable member for Barker (Mr Porter) has no idea what it is about. Over centuries we have designed the way in which parliamentary business should be handled, particularly matters which determine people's rights and freedoms, so I do not think that we ought to do this. There could have been earlier indications to members of this Parliament that this matter was coming on and if it is so urgent we could have been issued with a memorandum earlier in the day. Honourable members of this Parliament represent one of the few parliamentary institutions in the world that is basically democratic in its processes and democratic in its elections. They ought to remember what democracy is all about.

There are several issues that I do not follow. If it is true that courts in America need some evidence that is in this country to protect some process of the law which we would recognise there, why do we not co-operate? I do not think this mystique of sovereignty is all that important. I recognise, and I take it that this is recognised in this legislation, that there are forces at work in this world that transcend the power of governments; that the International Telegraph and Telephone Company, General Motors, and other large corporations based in Europe, Japan and America are able to manipulate world affairs and defeat governments.

Mr Martyr

Mr BRYANT -I suppose the honourable member for Swan (Mr Martyr) was elected to this place because the people in Western Australia -

Mr Martyr - You make these assertions but do not prove them.

Mr BRYANT -I refer the honourable member to history. The fact is that this legislation will, perhaps, allow these people to continue to do as they have been doing. I am not sure. It is all very well to sit here and allow this matter to proceed with undue haste just because we have been approached by the Attorney-General (Mr Ellicott), to allow that course to be adopted, but there are countless pieces of legislation dealing with the social advantage of the people of Australia which are not being proceeded with. They are held up for weeks on end. Therefore I want a better explanation. I am not going to call for divisions or anything of that nature. Only on two or 3 occasions since I was elected to this House has legislation of this order been brought in and there have been requests for it to be rushed through. I might say that I objected on those occasions. After all, this Bill hands great authority into the care of the Attorney-General. As I understand it from what my colleague the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) said a while ago this Bill relates to power to prevent the courts doing something that would be possible under State Acts. Is that the case?

Mr Scholes - The courts of other countries, not ours.

Mr BRYANT - Wait a bit. I am asking for information. If the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) knows all about it he can make the next speech and explain it. Is it a fact that this Bill aims to prevent the passage of documents or information as a result of a request to a New South Wales court?

Mr Nixon - To another country.

Mr BRYANT - Wait a bit. Is it a request to a New South Wales court?

Mr Birney - No.

Mr BRYANT - Well who made the request? That is the case, is it not? Is it or is it not?

Mr Ellicott - I will explain in a minute.

Mr BRYANT - What was the request?

Mr Nixon - Sit down and let the AttorneyGeneral explain.

Mr BRYANT -I will not sit down until I have had my say. The honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) has attempted to sit me down and stop me having a say all the time he has been here but he has not been successful yet.

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