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Thursday, 23 August 1984
Page: 320

Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(10.16) —The Opposition seems to have got itself into a muddle. Whatever is a rational approach to this Bill, the Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill, removing the entire sub- clause (5) and sub-clause (6) is not it. Either one leaves sub-clause (5) and sub-clause (6) there as they are to be determined by legislation which is what the Bill now provides for or, alternatively, we take out the particular words that the Australian Democrats propose to take out which leaves the relative order of success method to be determined by resolution of the Senate.

Senator Haines —Which is what we currently do now.

Senator GARETH EVANS —I thank Senator Haines. Either we go with the Democrats amendment leaving it to be determined by resolution of the Senate or we come with the Government Bill, leaving it to be resolved by legislation should the Parliament so determine. If we chop it out altogether we will create a vacuum which will be wonderful for the legal profession for decades into the hereafter, but which is not going to help anybody else terribly much. The Government remains reasonably keen while not wishing to be put to the wall over it on its original proposal. If we cannot have our original proposal, being good pragmatic Conservatives that we are, we will stick with the status quo in which case we will support Senator Macklin. I really think it is up to Senator Durack to work out on behalf of the Opposition, while I am still talking long enough for him to work it out, which of those two options he really wants to take. I do not think it is a viable alternative to chop out sub-clause (5) and sub-clause (6) altogether.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! I think it would be better if the Committee would agree to separate the two amendments of Senator Macklin which the Senate agreed to take together. I think the Committee should look first at the words proposed to be left out of sub-clause (5) which is amendment No. (1). If those words are removed Senator Durack, no doubt, could move to remove the remainder of the words in that sub-clause. We could then look at sub-clause (6), which is amendment No. (2), separately. What Senator Durack would like to do if the words are left there is up to him. He can still move, by leave, to remove the whole clause. Is that proposal acceptable to the Committee? There being no objection I will allow that course to be followed.

Amendment (2)-by leave-withdrawn.