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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1290

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Health) (12.20) - Let us get down to earth on this matter. This Bill was presented in the other place on 23rd March. Today is 20th April. So any suggestion that some new situation has been put upon the Opposition is absolute nonsense. Let us not pull our punches if that is the way the Opposition wants it. Let us be completely factual about this matter. The situation is that the official Opposition in the other place, which is known as the Executive House, made it abundantly clear that it would oppose the Bill at all stages regardless of what was said. Let us not have any nonsense about this. That has been the attitude here. In leading for the Opposition, Senator Bishop said almost in his first sentence that the Opposition would oppose it. The Opposition was not approaching the exercise taking an angle in relation to certain matters. The Opposition intended to oppose the Bill come hell or high water. Honourable members opposite know that that is true. What happened in the other place? In the other place during the Committee stage the shadow Minister for Labour and National Service did not even speak on the Bill. Only one backbencher Opposition speaker spoke during the Committee stage.

Senator Bishop - The shadow Minister was overseas.


Very well. He was overseas but nobody in the shadow Ministry spoke. There was only one speaker and he spoke for only 7 minutes. Now the Bill is before the Senate. The Opposition has made great play of the fact that it will deal with the Bill clause by clause, word by word. Whom does it think it is kidding? The fact of the matter is that Senator Cavanagh always puts his mind to these matters and speaks at length. With great respect to him, he said himself that he was speaking in opposition all the time, and he said in advance that the Opposition would oppose the Bill anyway. That is a fact of life. We are dealing with the Bill in the Committee stage now. If we are to have a discussion in Committee at length, let us conduct that discussion with the background that, regardless of what has been said, the Opposition is opposed to it.

I do not want to be difficult about Senator Cavanagh's reference to clause 2 because I know that he was using the clause as a vehicle to make his point. We all live with that. The honourable senator could do that on the third reading of the Bill if he so wished. Clause 2 deals with the Bill coming into operation from the date that it receives royal assent. As we know, this is a machinery clause. That is what happens with 99.9 per cent of all Bills that go through this place. It is a machinery provision to bring the Bill into effect with the royal assent. I finish on this note in regard to clause 2 with the indulgence of the chair, because I deal with what Senator Bishop has said. The fact of the matter is that I am following the pattern of what happened in the other place. The Opposition has made it clear that it will oppose the Bill. It has given good reasons why it will oppose the Bill. It can oppose the Bill again in this place if it wants to clause by clause. Naturally, I will listen to what honourable senators say and it will be recorded in the Hansard. But the die is cast.

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