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Thursday, 11 June 1970

Mr DUTHIE (Wilmot) - This decision to postpone Order of the Day No. 1, the Grievance Day debate, has come as a complete surprise to me, as the Opposition Whip, and also as far as 1 know to the Government Whip. We tried to obtain some clarity on this matter yesterday and also in the early hours of this morning. We could not obtain any information from anyone about it. We saw that it was on the daily programme for today, as is normal on each alternate fortnight.

Six Opposition members are prepared to take part in this debate and they have been for the past fortnight. To put this motion before the House without a moment's notice to honourable members has meant that I have had had to dash out of the chamber and contact the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) so that he would be here in time for the next item which he had expected would not come on before this afternoon. The Government is not giving us a fair go. It is especially unfair to the Whips who have a hard enough time to keep up with the movements of the Government and its thinking. I voice my strong protest at the decision of the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden) to wipe out the Grievance Day debate for this day.

Mr Snedden - There seems to be a misunderstanding here. There has never been any doubt in my mind-

Mr SPEAKER - -Order! If the Leader of the House speaks now he will be closing the debate.

Mr Barnard - I want to speak on this matter, Mr Speaker.

Mr Snedden - I seek leave to make a further statement.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr SNEDDEN(Bruce- Minister for Labour and National Service) - There was never any doubt in my mind that there would not be a Grievance debate this morning. The Government Whip and his Deputy have known that there would not be a Grievance debate today. It is my understanding that this was also known to the Opposition. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), told me that he did not realise it. I think the difference lies in the fact that under the Standing Orders the Grievance Day debate is required to be listed on the notice paper. Some misunderstanding has arisen here. It is on the notice paper because the Standing Orders require it to be on the notice paper. I am entitled to move that there be no Grievance Day debate. In the circumstances and as it seems that some members of the Opposition have speeches prepared for a Grievance Day debate I am prepared to withdraw my motion and to allow the debate to continue for an hour.

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