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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1289

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) - I had hoped that we would have raised this very real problem of the absence of reply by the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson), to the questions raised by various speakers from this side of the chamber. This leaves us in the position that the point taken by Senator Cavanagh seems to be appropriate. If the Bill is to operate, it should operate in a clear manner. The real position is that the unions which represent the officers in the Public Service and, to some extent, ourselves on the Opposition disagree with what the Minister states to be the purpose of the Bill. A number of propositions have to be answered. Most of them were put either in my contribution or in the contributions made by other speakers. It might be useful for those who are to answer them if perhaps at this stage I mention them I do not mind because we can start with clause 3. There are some very substantial differences in the interpretation of the Bill which have been given by the Minister and which have since been analysed by legal people representing the unions.

For the Bill to be effective in operation it ought to be clear. So at this stage, in respect of clause 2, 1 leave my comments on that basis. It is very necessary for the Minister to deal in detail with the questions which will arise. If these questions are put, I want to put it clearly to the Minister and to the Committee that it is not the intention to prolong the debate for that purpose in itself. The clear position is that the Bill ought to be understood by all concerned before it passes through this place. Of course, as is known, the Opposition intends to oppose the Bill at all stages. I will deal with my first objections when the Committee comes to deal with clause 3.

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