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Thursday, 8 November 1973
Page: 1680


Senator McMANUS (Victoria) (Leader of the Democratic Labor Party) - by leave- Mr President, I concur with my learned friends.

SenatorMURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral and Minister for Customs and

Excise) (4.30)- Mr President, we all seem to be of the same mind on this matter- that this is a non-party issue. That holds true for the members of the Government Party in this chamber. On 25 October 1973 the following message was received from the House of Representatives:

The House of Representatives transmits to the Senate the following resolution which was agreed to by the House of Representatives this day and requests the concurrence of the Senate therein:

This House is of the opinion that (a) the site for the new and permanent parliament house should be determined forthwith; (b) a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives should be convened to determine the matter; and (c) planning for the new parliament house should commenec immediately.

In view of that message having been received, I move:

(   1 ) That the Senate, consistent with its resolution of 6 May 1971, which was transmitted to the House of Representatives by message No. 153 of 1 97 1 , concurs in the resolution transmitted to it in message No. 20 1 of the House of Representatives, viz.-

That this House is of the opinion that-

(a)   The site for the new and permanent parliament house should be determined forthwith;

(b)   A joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives should be convened to determine the matter; and

(c)   planning for the new house should commence immediately.

(2)   That the foregoing resolution be communicatecd to the House of Representatives by message.

This matter was considered by the Senate on 6 May 1971. The Senate then took the view, in substance, that there ought to be a sitting of the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives in order to dispose of this issue. I will remind the Senate of what was then decided. It was:

(1)   That the Senate-

Believing that the decision as to the site of the new and permanemt Parliament House is and remains the responsibility of those members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who constitute the Parliament of the Commonwealth;

Recommends that a joint sitting of the two Houses or other form of general conference be convened to express, by resolution, the point of view of the assembled members of the Parliament as between Capital Hill and Camp Hill area;

Recommends further for the consideration of the House of Representatives-

(   1 ) that the proposed joint meeting be held on a day and time to be fixed by Mr President and Mr Speaker and that the joint meeting consist of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives;

(2)   that Mr President and Mr Speaker be joint chairmen of the joint meeting and be empowered, if they think it necessary, to draw up regulations for the conduct of such joint meeting; and

(3)   that at such a joint meeting there be no debate on the subject matter of the alternative sites and that the question be decided by a majority of votes;

Invites Members of the House of Representatives to join with Senators in the Senate Chamber or such other place as may be determined by Mr President and Mr Speaker for the purpose of the joint meeting;

And further invites the House of Representatives to suggest any alternative to or modification of the Senate's proposal, with a view to the convening of a joint meeting of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to determine finally the question where the new and permanent Parliament House be situated.

(2)   That the foregoing Resolution be communicated to the House of Representatives, by Message, requesting the consideration by that House of the Resolution.

I moved that motion on 6 May 1971 and it was carried. The House of Representatives, by its message, has now suggested a similar proposalthat there be a joint meeting to determine the site- and also has suggested that planning for the new parliament house should commence immediately. I believe that consistently with what was determined by the resolution of the Senate on 6 May 1971, we should concur in the proposition for a joint meeting. The proposal for a joint meeting, if concurred in, can be followed by some machinery proposals to be agreed upon between the Houses. That should cause no difficulty.

It is simply a meeting of the members of the Houses in order that they may express their view. It is not intended, as I understand it either in what was proposed in May 1971 or in what is proposed now by the House of Representatives, that this meeting should be operative in the sense of an Act in the law. It is not. It is merely a means of ascertaining in a regular way what are the wishes of those persons who happen to be the members of both Houses. So it would not be a sitting in any constitutional or legislative sense. It would be a manner of determining where we think the site should be.


Senator Poyser - Seeking the consensus.







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