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Wednesday, 13 September 1972
Page: 767

Senator GAIR (Queensland) (Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party) - I rise to support the proposal submitted by the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Drake-Brockman). Probably because of my personal experience I have always been a great believer in the view that the Leader of the Government has the unquestionable right to determine the order of the business of the Senate. He must be conceded the right of knowing just what business is on hand and just what time will be involved in disposing of it.

I was amused, really, to listen to the reasons advanced by Senator Murphy as to why he felt it necessary to move the amendment. His attitude reminded me somewhat of a curious child who wanted to know something and who could not find out and because he could not find out that he wanted to know and what so many other people wanted to know he was being irked by it. Because Senator Murphy was being irked about it he elected to make some sweeping allegations and charges about people not having sufficient courage, capacity, ability or mentality to arrive at a decision. It is very easy to take up that attitude, and I do not think that Senator Murphy was genuinely serious in what he said and on moving the amendment. He wants to know the date of the election.

Senator Georges - Well, we have a right to know.

Senator GAIR - Honourable senators have a right to be told when it is disclosed by the person whose prerogative it is to determine the date of the election.

Senator Mulvihill - It is not a one-party state, senator.

Senator GAIR - It is not a one-party state. The Australian Labor Party leader in South Australia does not disclose to the world the date on which he will go to the people. Also, this date is not disclosed by the Premier of Western Australia or Tasmania. I was a Premier of a State and it was my own prerogative as it is the undisputable right of the leader of a government, to determine the date of an election and to disclose it when he believes the time is propitious and in the best interests of the workings of Parliament. After all, in the ordinary circumstances and following history, elections have been held here in the first week of December; they have also been held in the month of November. The strongest argument for what the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate is putting forward tonight is that he is desirous of dealing with the business of the Senate as expeditiously as possible in the event of the date of the election being announced which would terminate this session earlier than would normally be the case. That is an argument which strongly supports the proposal put forward by the Acting Leader of the Government tonight. Anyway, none of us has any cause to quibble about the additional working times that are proposed or contained in the Acting Leader's submission. None of us will die from overwork so far as the sittings here are concerned.

Senator Georges - You speak foi yourself.

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