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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1435


Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Government in the Senate) - Now that the proposition I put has been defeated by the elimination of the postponement of the debate until tomorrow, may I say to the Senate that I think it is against the interests of the people of Australia that this Bill be delayed for an undue time.


Senator Greenwood - I rise on a point of order, although I know that I am not in my correct place. Have we not proceeded to a vote on the question?


The PRESIDENT - I have put the question: That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted. That is the motion before the Senate.


Senator Wright - Why was Senator Murphy invited to speak?


The PRESIDENT - He was not invited to speak. He stood and attracted my attention. Honourable senators will resume their seats. The question is: That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted. I call Senator Murphy.


Senator MURPHY - Now that my proposal that the debate continue in the usual way has not been acceded to -


Senator Greenwood - I rise on the point of order upon which I embarked before you, Mr President, asked us to resume our seats. I speak from a lack of experience of the procedure in which Senator Murphy is now engaging. Therefore, I raise the question of its propriety. I moved an amendment that certain words be left out of Senator Murphy's motion and that different words be substituted. The amendment simply changes words. It could be put in the one question, but the practice of the Senate is to put two questions when such amendments are moved. Mr President, I submit that if you permit a speech on the second limb of the one question we could be engaged in a long and interminable debate over the words which should be inserted. It may be that that course is in order. Certainly it is a course which, I think, many of us have not experienced before. Therefore I raise the question whether it is in order. If it is in order, it raises many questions for the future. My submission would be that it is not in order because there is only one amendment and we have debated it.


The PRESIDENT - I do not uphold the point of order. I am applying the ruling which is the practice of the Senate. There is a new question before the Senate, namely, that the debate be adjourned until the first sitting day of 1 974. That is the question.


Senator Wright - I think we ought to disagree with that ruling.


The PRESIDENT - Senator Wright,you can disagree with it. If you are indicating that you propose to disagree with my ruling, I think I should remind you of the relevant standing order. Standing order 149 states:

When it is proposed to leave out words in the Original Question in order to insert or add others, no Amendment to the words proposed to be inserted or added can be entertained until the Question that the words proposed to be left out be left out has been determined.


Senator MURPHY -Mr President-


The PRESIDENT - Senator Murphy,are you speaking to Senator Greenwood's point of order?


Senator MURPHY - No. I am speaking to the substantive matter. I think that Senator Wright clearly crystallised the problem that the Senate faces when, by way of interjection which was not answered, he said: 'Why waste time?'


Senator Wright - I rise on a point of order. Mr President, implicit in what you read from the Standing Orders is an indication that if there is an amendment to the words proposed to be inserted, that is a subject for debate. Unless Senator Murphy proposes such an amendment or rises on a point of order, I submit that he is quite out of order.


Senator MURPHY -Mr President-


The PRESIDENT - Senator Murphy,are you addressing yourself to the point of order?


Senator MURPHY -Mr President,I submit that I am entitled to speak to the question now before the Chair. If I wish, and I may wish, I may propose an amendment to the question now before the Chair.


The PRESIDENT - I do not uphold the point of order.


Senator Withers - I take it that the words proposed to be inserted, which is the question before the Chair, are the words 'the first sitting day of 1974'. That is part of Senator Greenwood's amendment. I take it that I am correct?


The PRESIDENT - Yes. The question before the Senate is: That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted.


Senator Withers - That is basically Senator Greenwood's amendment. Therefore I take it that Senator Greenwood would be entitled to the first call on that question as it is his amendment. If he does not rise to take the call and if Senator Murphy takes the call, I take it that if Senator Greenwood is the next speaker he closes the debate.


The PRESIDENT - No.


Senator Withers - Whose motion is before the Chair?


The PRESIDENT - Senator Greenwood'smotion: 'That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted'. That is the substantive motion at this moment.


Senator Withers - Who owns the motion before the Chair at the moment? It strikes me as being rather ludicrous, to put it mildly, that if Senator Greenwood promotes an amendment to leave out words and insert other words the carriage of the action now resides with Senator Murphy. I would have thought that as Senator Greenwood was the promoter of that amendment he owned the amendment and that part of the motion.


The PRESIDENT - The learned Clerk informs me that there is no right of reply to the amendment.


Senator Greenwood - I rise to a point of order, Mr President. We are witnessing a procedure which I have not seen before in my time in this place. You, Sir, have ruled- I appreciate the Standing Order to which you have referred as justifying the ruling which you have made- that when it is proposed to leave out words in the original question in order to insert or add other words no amendment to the words proposed to be inserted or added can be entertained until the question that the words proposed to be left out be left out has been determined.


The PRESIDENT - That has been determined.


Senator Greenwood - I moved an amendment that words be left out and in their place other words be inserted. That is the customary procedure which practice has sanctified in this place. What Senator Murphy is doing is simply speaking, and I would have thought that speaking to the question would not be permitted once the actual voting in division has occurred. I would have thought that it would have to be acknowledged under the Standing Order which I have just read out and upon which you have based your ruling that if he moved an amendment he would then have to justify it under standing order 1 49. But Senator Murphy has not moved an amendment. He is simply speaking to the question, which I submit is out of order.


The PRESIDENT - I do not know what he is going to speak to at the present moment.


Senator Greenwood - He has said, with respect, Sir, that he may move an amendment. Therefore he is using the occasion as a vehicle for talking. I would have thought that the interest of the Government was not simply to talk but to get down to its business, either by moving an amendment or dealing with the other Bills.


The PRESIDENT - Perhaps Senator Murphy will indicate what his intentions are.


Senator MURPHY -The business of the Government is to get down to work and to bring in legislation. The people of Australia are entitled to have this Parliament consider that legislation. If it is not considered in this House it will be considered in the other House.


Senator Hannan - You are not going to intimidate us.


Senator MURPHY - The Opposition will not be intimidated by anyone in this place.

Senate Hannan- That is right.


Senator MURPHY -That is right. The Opposition in this place is, as it has said, committed and dedicated to, and believes in legislation against restrictive practices. Everybody knows that. If one talks to honourable senators opposite individually every one of them will say that he wants laws against these rotten practices, that he wants laws to protect the consumer. They will not be intimidated by anyone in this Parliament. The only people who will intimidate them are their masters outside- the big businesses which have leaned upon them and leaned upon the Leader of the Opposition in the other House.


Senator Greenwood - I rise to a point of order. I raised a point of order on which I respectfully ask for a ruling. My point of order was whether Senator Murphy is entitled to speak to this question at this stage without moving an amendment.


The PRESIDENT - The point is that Senator Murphy has to give an indication of what he intends to do. I had to give him time to make it clear what the indicators are. I was about to suggest to Senator Murphy that he has said enough on this and that he should let me proceed to the gravamen of the matter, and that is to put the question: 'That the words proposed to be inserted be inserted'.


Senator MURPHY - It is my intention to move an amendment.







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