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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 577

Senator DEVITT (Tasmania) - lt is quite unusual for me to rise to speak on the motion for. the adjournment of the Senate but 1 think that the circumstances which preceded the moving of that motion warrant some explanation from me as to why I took the action 1 took at the time when I look it. Al the outset 1 say that I always have enjoyed the contributions made by Senator Carrick since he has been in this chamber and I also respect them. I regard them as very thoughful contributions and I appreciate the way in which he makes them to the Senate even though in many instances I do not agree, of course, with the points he makes.

My reason for responding in the way I did was the challenge issued in this direction to members of the Opposition by Senator Carrick. He challenged us to rise and make some statement of our position in relation to probate. The reason I took exception as 1 did was as I explained earlier, that in fact a committee of the Senate was set up to examine this very question. I do not mind a challenge. I have been receiving challenges all my life and 1 have stood up to them, or most of them. I have not always won but I have always stood up to them and I will continue doing so for the rest of my life. 1 hope that honourable senators appreciate that point of view. I do not deny to Senator Carrick the right to issue that challenge even though it was somewhat in breach of the Standing Orders. But surely I must be conceded the right to rise in response to it. I have a tremendous regard for the committee system. On every occasion when the subject of the committee system has been raised in this Senate I have spoken in favour of it. I have spelt out in great detail the reasons why I support it so strongly. You, Mr Acting President, and other honourable senators know that I give a tremendous amount of my time to working on these committees.

Senator Webster - Especially the Regulations and Ordinances Committee.

Senator DEVITT - And quite a number of others. A challenge was issued for us to stand up and state our position. As a sincere member of the Committee looking into the question of probate - I am sure that Senator Carrick will acknowledge that it is an involved question - I believe that I should not state my position in regard to it and so pre-empt the decisions which the Committee ultimately will make and report to the Senate. However, if I have any understanding of the position of Labor Party senators on that Committee a reasonable interpretation of their view is that they are not happy with the present situation. I think all of us would give the full strength of our knowledge and interest in this matter, together with whatever other characteristics are required, to make a proper judgment on this issue. We will play our part, together with other members of that Committee from the Government side of the chamber and from the Democratic Labor Party, so that we will present to this Parliament a report based upon all the evidence available to us and on the keenest judgment of that evidence.

I do not mind a bit of a donnybrook at some stages or a bil of a stoush Sometimes it stirs the blood a bit and does one good. However, I hope that when a challenge is issued one has a reasonable opportunity to respond to it. I concede to Senator Carrick his right to put his points in making his contribution to the Senate in the way that he thinks fit but he must concede to us surely, when a challenge is issued, the right to respond in the way that I responded.

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