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Thursday, 29 October 1964

Senator TOOHEY (South Australia) . - I support the proposal raised by Senator Wright, but I have a horrible suspicion, which no doubt he also entertains, that although the Minister has indicated a sympathetic attitude towards what I consider is a practicable proposal, the matter is going to slop there. The Minister said that he himself believed that it was most unlikely that those in high places-

Senator Paltridge - I did not say that.

Senator TOOHEY - I thought that is what the Minister meant. I will withdraw what 1 have just said and say that 1 believe that those in high places will readily forget, after this evening, that this submission has been made. I should like to see a committee appointed for the purpose of considering what constitutes practicable arrangements for sessions of the Parliament - how they can be conducted in the most economic and practical way. Honorable senators will recall that from time to time over many years the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has referred to the utter futility of the system under which we work, particularly towards the end of sessions when the Parliament sits a! all sorts of outrageous hours with no thought to a systematic arrangement of timing or anything else. Of course, this points to what we all know so well: That we are the victims of ministerial arrangements. While the decisions rest in high places in the Cabinet and present arrangements stand, we ordinary members shall continue to be pushed around. I use that expression in the widest sense. We will continue to sit at all sorts of odd hours and times without any proper cohesion and without any thought given to the proper working of the Parliament.

Senator Paltridge - That is not true.

Senator TOOHEY - The Minister does not agree?

Senator Paltridge - I do not agree that honorable senators are asked to sit at all sorts of odd hours and at odd times.

Senator TOOHEY - On the occasions I have mentioned we have had what are popularly known as all nighters

Senator Paltridge - We have not had an all nighter for three years.

Senator TOOHEY - I said that we have had all nighters. Certainly it is not three years since we had the last all nighter.

Senator Wright - The honorable senator's purpose and mine are one. I suggest to him that if we keep to this proposition we might get somewhere.

Senator TOOHEY - 1 have allowed myself to be diverted a little by the Minister. However 1 shall return to the point I was making. 1 believe that a committee of some sort should be appointed to go into this matter and see whether we can arrive at a much more satisfactory arrangement. I am sure the Minister will agree that there must be more satisfactory ways of organising the sittings of this Parliament than the present arrangement. I support Senator Wright in this request.

I turn now to a vastly different matter. From time to time over the past two or three years it has been the custom to have displays in the King's Hall associated with the Department of National Development and sometimes with the Department of Defence and other sections of the administration. Great interest has been taken in these displays, not only by members of Parliament, parliamentary officers and residents of Canberra but also by the travelling public who visit the national capital in ever increasing numbers each year. I should like to see this practice extended and to have more frequent displays in the King's Hall because I believe they serve a useful purpose for the Parliament, the residents of Canberra and visitors.

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