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Thursday, 15 November 1973

Senator DURACK (Western Australia) - I thought I had a right to speak.

The PRESIDENT - Yes. I have accorded you that, and I have apologised.

Senator DURACK -I rise only to put the proposition that the Committee should be able to sit again and complete its consideration of these very important estimates. I do not want to get involved in the discussion that has taken place on why the Committee did not complete its consideration of the estimates and whether the Chairman, Senator Cant, was to blame. The fact remains that we did not complete our consideration of some very important estimates. They were referred to by Senator Cant when he presented the report. They involve the expenditure of more than $150m. They relate to such important matters as the appropriations for the Atomic Energy Commission, the Pipeline Authority and the Moomba to Sydney pipeline. It is a fact that we were in the middle of our consideration and had not completed our examination. I had not completed my questions and I know that one or two other senators had not asked some questions that they wanted to ask about the pipeline feasibility studies that were taking place and other pipeline proposals that might be in the pipeline so to speak.

I rise to support the remarks made by Senator Webster in speaking to this motion. These are important matters and they have not been considered. I suggest to the Senate that it ought to give leave to Estimates Committee F, or direct it accordingly, to sit again and complete its consideration of these estimates. There is time for it to do so. The Appropriation Bill has not yet been passed by the House of Representatives. It has not even been introduced into the Senate. It must be passed by the end of the month, we know; but undoubtedly there will be time for us to complete our consideration of the estimates by then. I am advised that I cannot move an amendment to the motion 'That the report be printed' and that the only way I can get this matter before the Senate is to seek leave to move a motion. I will now indicate what my motion is, although I cannot move it. I would be grateful if the Leader of the Goverment in the Senate (Senator Murphy) would indicate whether he will grant leave for me to move my motion; otherwise, I will be forced to oppose the motion for the printing of the report. My motion is:

That the particulars of proposed expenditure contained in division 890.1.04, division 890 subdivisions 2, 3 and 4, and division 891 relating to the Department of Minerals and Energy be recommitted to Estimates Committee F for consideration and report to the Senate by 22 November.

The PRESIDENT - The motion before the Chair at the moment is that the report of Estimates Committee F be printed.

Senator Murphy - I would have to consider Senator Durack 's proposition. I would have to speak to the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Cant.

Senator Wright - Mr President,I understood that Senator Durack indicated that if he is not given leave he will oppose this motion. I ask you to consider putting his request for leave to the Senate so that he will not be in a false position in considering the motion.

The PRESIDENT - I was saying that the substantive motion before the Senate is that the report of Estiamtes Committee F be printed. I was about to direct my attention to the Leader of the Government in the Senate to see whether he wished to take some action to accord Senator Durack a particular grace that is available to him, before I put the motion. I call Senator Murphy.

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