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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2633

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted?

Senator CARRICK - Mr President,I seek to have the Local Government Grants Bill brought on so that it can have adequate debate and quick passage today. I seek leave to have that Bill brought on ahead of the Family Law Bill on the assurance that if that is done the Local Government Grants Bill will get a reasonably speedy passage by the Opposition. -

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted?

Senator Murphy - May I have leave to respond?

The PRESIDENT - First I must ask whether leave is given to Senator Carrick to make a statement. Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted.

Senator CARRICK(New South Wales)-The Grants Commission made its determinations in August this year. The Bill to enable the grants to be made was introduced in the other place on 23 October this year and into this place on Tuesday of this week. By way of questioning of the Ministers and of the Government I requested that urgency be given to the passing of this Bill so that the grants could get to local government. Although the Bill was introduced on Tuesday no urgency was given to the matter and the day was taken up by the Family Law Bill despite my request on behalf of the Opposition that urgency be given to the Local Government Grants Bill. Yesterday when the Senate was dealing with the placing of business the Government showed that it had no regard to the urgency of this Bill and put the Bill well down the list. It could, in response to the urgency of the Bill, have put it on top.

Today the Bill has been listed to follow the Committee stage of the Family Law Bill. I understand that there is some feeling that the Government might tonight seek to force this Bill through after a debate of an hour or an hour and a half. Frankly, that is not good enough. If the Government is willing to adjourn the Committee consideration of the Family Law Bill at 6 p.m. and will give the Opposition from 8 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. the Opposition undertakes to pass the Local Government Grants Bill tonight. Alternatively, if a 2-hour limit is put on the debate we will undertake to respect that time limit and give the Government the Bill. We seek an assurance that there will be no less than a 2-hour debate and a gurantee that preference will be given to this Bill.

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