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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 1011

Senator WITHERS (Western AustraliaLeader of the Opposition) - I thank the Senate for its indulgence. I would like briefly to put the situation as the Opposition sees it. I understood from what Senator Townley said earlier that he desired to vote for the second reading of this Bill and the previous Bill. One assumes, therefore, that the Bills would have passed the second reading stage. I understand that in the Committee stage he intended to move amendments to either the first Bill or the second Bill, or to both. That would have put us of the Opposition in some difficulty because we have not seen the amendments. Frankly, we would not know whether to support them or to oppose them in Committee, without having a meeting of our Party members.

Senator McLaren - We have not seen them either.

Senator WITHERS -I think that many of us would be in the same sort of bother. Therefore, we thought that Senator Townley 's request to have the Bills stood over for only 3 weeks was not unreasonable.

Senator Gietzelt - You put it up to him. Deny that you put it up to him.

Senator WITHERS -I do not think that anybody puts anything up to Senator Townley. That reflection is quite unnecessary. Senator Gietzelt can have that sort of nonsense if he likes. I can well undersand why Senator Townley requires a couple of weeks to think about these Bills. Somebody said previously that he could not understand why Senator Townley does not have the capacity to deal with these things. We on the Opposition side are not as well served as the Government side because the Government side has six or seven Ministers and departmental back-ups.

Senator Georges - You can always ask for assistance. Do not put that one on.

Senator WITHERS -Over the range of legislation that is introduced? Do not be funny. We in the Opposition parties have enough problems although there are twenty-nine of us sharing the legislative burden in this place. I think it is unreasonable to expect one senator to pick up the burden he has to carry and to make his decisions. If the Government would cease being so pigheaded and would contain its impatience a little until 17 September, it probably would get much more of its legislation enacted than is the case at the moment.

Senator Steele Hall - Mr President,I seek leave to make a statement.

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted?

Senator Wright - No.

The PRESIDENT - There being dissent, leave is not granted.

Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Senator Murphy) agreed to:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Steele Hall from making a statement.

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