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Thursday, 8 November 1973
Page: 1695


Senator MCAULIFFE (Queensland) - I enthusiastically support the motion moved by Senator Murphy. Paragraph (a) states that the site for the new and permanent parliament house should be determined forthwith. 1 could not agree with that more. Senator Wood said that when he entered the chamber he had his mind made up, he listened to persuasions by other senators, he went outside, he consulted somebody else, he came back in and he changed his mind. This is an example of what has been going for many years. Let us have some action, not words. So I appeal to the chamber to support enthusiastically this motion, particularly paragraph (a) which provides that the site be determined forthwith. Paragraph (b) states that a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives should be convened to determine the matter. I support that paragraph, too. I could not care less whether the joint meeting is held in the House of Representatives or in the Senate. I know about the constitutional precedents and historical associations which have been referred to by honourable senators who have advanced those sentiments. They are entitled to their opinions. I am not disagreeing with them. I think that in the interests of progress and in the interests of getting a decision and getting on with a building which will enhance the reputation of the national parliament we should cast those matters aside. I suggest that we should support this joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. To overcome any difficulty as to whether it should be held in the Senate or the House of Representatives, we should clear the tables and chairs out of the Refreshment Rooms and the meeting should be assembled there. It could be presided over by the 2 Presiding Officers.


Senator Young - If the tables and chairs are cleared out, it would be a standing committee.


Senator MCAULIFFE - Make it a meeting place of the joint members of the national parliament- senators and members of the House of Representatives. The 2 Presiding Officers could preside over the meeting. The Minister for the Capital Territory or the Minister responsible for steering the Bill through the Houses could act as the secretary and put the proposition to the assembled members. He could put the proposition: All those in favour of Capital Hill or against, or whatever the alternative proposition is. Let us make a speedy decision and do away with this humbug about who has the traditional right to declare the venue for the meeting place.

Paragraph (c) states that planning for the new house should commence immediately. All of us agree with that. All of us agree that a speedy decision should be made. It appears to me that there is indecision only on the method of reaching a decision. I earnestly suggest to the Senate as a common sense proposition that we, as a body of parliamentarians of the national parliament, should meet in the Refreshment Rooms, presided over by both Presiding Officers. The secretary can put the proposition to the assembly. That work can be handled by the Minister for the Capital Territory.







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