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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 896


The CHAIRMAN - The point of order that is taken by Senator Poyser is not upheld.


Senator Poyser - Then we can have a general discussion on all clauses now?


The CHAIRMAN - No, we cannot, but, if Senator Greenwood would bear with me, I think I must ask the Attorney-General to move his amendments, I do not know whether the amendments of the Government have been circulated.


Senator Murphy - Yes, I think they have.


The CHAIRMAN - Have all honourable senators the Government's amendment?


Senator GREENWOOD - Mr Chairman,I was on my feet until a point of order was taken and I have indicated that we are moving an amendment to this clause.


The CHAIRMAN -The point is that I had asked one of the attendants to bring a copy of the Government's amendments but I did not have them except for one sheet. I now have before me amendments which the Government apparently intends to move to clause 2. The first line to be disturbed in clause 2 is line 1 1 and the Opposition, so far as I understand it, is to move an amendment to line 12. That being the case, in these awkward circumstances, I am afraid that the Government should move its amendment first. If the Attorney-General agrees, I think Senator Greenwood should complete his remarks and then the Attorney-General can move his amendment.


Senator GREENWOOD -This is going to prove tremendously difficult. I indicated that we were proposing to move an amendment. The Opposition 's amendment is the same as the amendment which was moved in the House of Representatives and there is an argument to be put in support of it. At 12.40 p.m. today I was given a list of amendments which are to be proposed by the Government. I saw that the first amendment dealt with clause 2. My initial reaction was that we can debate the Opposition's amendment, and in the course of that debate an argument for or against it will be raised; I assume that it will be an argument against it. When it has been disposed of, there will be an opportunity for the Government's amendment to be considered and as it obviously arises from a consideration of the Opposition's amendment, we will be better informed to deal with it.

Quite frankly, I have given the scantest attention to the Government's amendments because I assumed that they would be debated after the Opposition's amendments were debated. When the Opposition's amendments were before the House of Representtives, the Government took the view that because it had them for only an hour it could not give consideration to them. In every case the Government voted against them, sometimes for good reasons, other times simply because the Government did not have time to consider them. Under your proposal, Mr Chairman, we are faced with the position of having to deal with the Government's amendments which I received just 1% hours ago. I looked at them briefly, notwithstanding the lunch period. Other senators received them only in the last 5 minutes. Those amendments are supposed to be put before all our amendments which have been available for honourable senators to read in Hansard for the past two or three weeks. I wish to enter a protest at the course which is being adopted because, unquestionably, it will not be as tidy an approach or as quick an approach as we would like. It is obviously sensible to deal with matters with which we are familiar, then deal with new matters when the familiar matters have been disposed of.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Webster) Admittedly, copies of the amendments were circulated only a few minutes ago. The Government's first amendment seeks to leave out subclauses (3) and (4) in total. The Opposition's first amendment seeks to leave out certain words in those sub-clauses. It would be a waste of time to discuss the Opposition's first amendment if the Government intends to substitute completely new sub-clauses. The Committee may be in some doubt as to what it should do. I rule that the Attorney-General move his amendment first. I appreciate that Senator Greenwood had the call. Unless there is something in the Government's amendment which Senator Greenwood seeks to delete, I think we should by-pass his amendment.







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