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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 1503

Senator MARRIOTT (Tasmania) (Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Health) -! will be brief. I understand that a number of the petitions received by honourable senators today - I have received one myself - are addressed to the Honourable the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I returned the one that I received to the top name and address on the list of signatories saying that 1 am not a member of the House of Representatives and 1 cannot present the petition to the Speaker. I understand and believe that on most of the petitions being presented today someone has crossed out the words 'House of Representatives' and put in the word 'Senate'. No honourable senator or person has the right to alter the name of the House to which the petition is to be presented without the permission of the signatories to it. Therefore, I believe that half of the petitions awaiting presentation are not legally valid to be presented to you today, Mr President.

Senator PROWSE(Western Australia)Mr President, you will recall that I discussed with you the possibility of asking you a question along the lines of the concern indicated by Senator Turnbull. The honourable senator and 1 have something in common at last, namely, our reaction to what has happened. We have both received a maiden petition. I have never received a petition from a maiden. In this case it was with somewhat mixed feelings that 1 found that 1 shared the maiden petition with a great number of other honourable senators. I, like Senator Turnbull, was concerned at the manner in which the petition came to me. It was amongst a lot of other material on my desk. It had no covering letter and no request to present it. There was only the petition enclosed in an envelope. I assumed that the signatures printed on the document were authentic. Accordingly I handed the petition to the Clerk who proceeded to certify it in the usual way. I think that honourable senators have some obligation to verify the genuineness of a document that they present to this place.

Senator Cavanagh - Senator Rae checks them.

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