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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2372


Senator MISSEN - I direct my question to the Manager of Government Business in the Senate. I draw the Minister's attention to the low placement on the Senate notice paper of the further consideration of the Family Law Bill and the higher priority to be given to some other Bills of lesser urgency recently received from the other place. In view of the results of a recent public opinion poll reported in this week's 'Bulletin' which showed overwhelming support for the major principles of the Bill, will the Minister give an assurance that the continuance of the debate on the Bill will receive high priority on the notice paper next week?


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -Much as I should like to be able to give an assurance to the honourable senator I cannot guarantee that the Family Law Bill can be given a higher position on the notice paper. I assure the honourable senator that Senator Murphy, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, has been exerting very great pressure on me to give the Bill the highest priority. The honourable senator will appreciate -


Senator CARRICK - It looks like an irretrievable breakdown between you.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -No, there is not. I assure the honourable senator that I was hoping that the Appropriation Bills would not have taken the length of time that they have taken to debate. I was hoping that, had the Appropriation Bills been dealt with on Tuesday of this week, we would have had yesterday to deal with the Family Law Bill. However, my colleague, Senator Cavanagh, assures me that so far as his administration is concerned there is quite some urgency involved in the Government's having the States Grants (Aboriginal Assistance) Bill and the Aboriginal Loans Commission Bill passed. Therefore after the Appropriation Bills have been dealt with and as in the opinion of Senator Cavanagh urgent consideration is required of these measures by the Parliament, those 2 Bills have been allotted next priority.

I am given to understand in discussions with the Leader of the Opposition that there will be very little debate on orders of the day Nos 5, 6 and 7. Because it was understood that there would be very little debate on those Bills we decided to give them their present position on the notice paper. I assure the honourable senator though that, so far as I am personally concerned in my role as Manager of Government Business in the Senate, it is my earnest desire to accede to the wishes especially of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As soon as it is possible, having regard to Government legislative priorities the Family Law Bill will again be brought to the Senate for debate.







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