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Tuesday, 14 May 1957


That the clause be postponed.

It is clear, from the answer- given by the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) to the honorable members for Chisholm (Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes) and Sturt (Mr. Wilson), and the attempt by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr.

Harold Holt) to explain the clause, that neither of them has very much more idea of its meaning than have the honorable members to whom I have referred. Those honorable members have frankly admitted that they cannot understand its full purport, and the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Brimblecombe) has just indicated that he is not satisfied. I doubt very much whether there is anybody in the Parliament at this moment - and I include the Minister for Labour and National Service and the Minister for the Army, who are at the table - who understands precisely what this clause really means. It seems to me entirely wrong that the Parliament should be asked to vote on something about which it is not perfectly clear. It also seems to me that it is impossible to be perfectly clear on the meaning of the clause when the Ministers in charge of the bill themselves are not clear. This is such an important matter that before we pass it and give it legal effect, it should be thoroughly reconsidered by the Ministers concerned, so that they will be able to come into this Parliament and give us a better explanation of its meaning than we have had to date. It is for those reasons that I have moved that consideration of the clause be postponed.

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