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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2212

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - An amendment has been proposed by the Government to clause 2 of its own Bill, the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill. So far as I can gather, the purport of the amendment is that certain proposed sections of the new Act shall be deemed to have come into operation on 26th May 1972. I would like to know the purpose of this. I ask the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) whether this is intended to achieve any particular result. Is there any amalgamation which would be affected by this? Is this the purpose of the amendment? The other House is not sitting. As I understand it, the Bill is not to be returned to the other place until Tuesday. Is there some amalgamation which would be affected if this clause were passed today in the form that the Attorney-General seeks? The new sub-clause would state:

Sections 51 and 68 of this Act shall be deemed to have come into operation on 26th May 1972.

Is it suggested that there is some amalgamation which may be effected today or on Monday? Will some people, who have for years gone through the tortuous processes of negotiating, amending their rules and all sorts of things and actually observing the law, have their rights cut off at this point? They may be submitting the matter so that it could be completed today or Monday. The Attorney-General is suggesting in this proposal that the process will be chopped off by the Government pushing through this clause rather than letting the amalgamation take place if the Bill gets through in the ordinary course of events. Let us presume that the Bill is passed through the Senate on Wednesday. Is the purpose of this clause to chop off some lawful proceeding and action of people so that they will have to go back and start right from the beginning of the process? I say that the Senate is entitled to be informed by the Attorney-General to the best of his knowledge on the advice of the officers of the Department of Labour and National Service whether there is any specific instance of people who will be affected by this. If the Senate is to exercise its power we ought to know how the clause will operate. Will some citizens be specially affected by this clause 2 (a) which the Attorney-General wants to have inserted in the legislation?

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