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Thursday, 19 November 1959

Mr LUCHETTI (Macquarie) .- I support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and I disagree entirely with the comments made by the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) and the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) who, with some feeling, this morning suggested that the honorable member for Mackellar had no right to rise in his place and propose an amendment.

Let it be remembered that the amendment moved by the honorable member for Mackellar does no more or less than condition paragraph (m) of clause 27. It does not seek to undo completely the work which was done last night. I should like to go on record as saying that if we could undo what was done last night I would be a very happy man indeed, because the means by which decisions were reached last night by continuing the debate until 3.15 o'clock this morning were not in the best interests of our parliamentary institution. I believe it would have been much better if the Attorney-General had accepted the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) at 1.30 a.m. to report progress and resume consideration of the bill this morning in a proper and orderly manner when all members of the committee would have the opportunity of being present and able to engage in a fruitful discussion.

What is wrong with the bishops of the Church of England expressing a point of view? There seems to be some bitterness about this. Why there should be bitterness because the Primate of Australia, on behalf of the Anglican bishops, has written a letter to honorable members, is beyond my imagination. Surely we should accept and welcome such information when it comes to hand just as we welcome information from the trade unions, financial houses or national fitness bodies on legislative proposals that affect them. Quite obviously, in this instance we ought to welcome information from those who deal with ques tions of ethics and morality. As far as I am personally concerned, I am pleased to hear the words of the bishops. I respect their point of view. I do not necessarily endorse it, but I respect it; and I am very pleased to receive it. In this particular matter they have put forward a point of view which I believe is deserving of the warmest possible consideration.

I was somewhat astonished to hear the honorable member for Port Adelaide go off at a tangent and mix up various ideas. He spoke about one-armed bandits and the liquor trade and all the rest. May I say to the honorable member that if he is so impressed by what the bishops have to say on the question of gambling and the liquor trade, one would expect him to give similar credence and respect to what they have to say on this matter which affects the lives and welfare of the people.

I say again that the amendment now before the committee appears to me simply to condition the provision contained in paragraph (m) of clause 27.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.

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