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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 830

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (Minister for Air) - I move:

That intervening business be postponed until after consideration of Government Business, Order of the Day No. 1, which relates to Ordinances and Regulations (Notification) Bill 1972.

It is normal practice on Thursdays at this time for the Senate to move on to a discussion of reports of standing committees. Today the order of the day due to be discussed relates to a consideration of the report of the Senate Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources. After a discussion of that order of the day it would be normal to move on to order of the day Nos 2. 3 and so on until we had completed a discussion of the orders of the day. I have proposed my motion because 1 believe that Government Business, Order of the Day No. 1, dealing with the Ordinances and Regulations (Notification) Bill 1972 is of an urgent nature. T believe that it is necessary to use the procedure I have adopted to bring this matter on for debate.

While I have been Acting Leader of the Government it has been my normal practice to make out a plan of the day in line with Government Business that is required to be dealt with and to discuss that plan with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator

Murphy) and the Leader of the Democratic Labor Party (Senator Gair). During this time 1 have received a great deal of cooperation from the 2 leaders in bringing business before the Senate. When discussing this matter this morning I said that I thought this Government Business was of an urgent nature. I hope the Leader of the Opposition will not mind my saying that he did not see the urgency of the matter, as a. result of which we could not arrive at a decision on how we should proceed with business during the day. I have used this procedure as a means of bringing this Government Business before the Senate immediately instead of after the debate on the Committee's report.

Yesterday 1 proposed a motion for the Senate to sit for extended hours. That motion, when carried, required the Senate to meet at 10 a.m. today. However, during the course of the day, some honourable senators from both sides of the chamber asked me whether there was any real urgency for the Senate to meet at 10 a,m. instead of the usual 1 1 a.m. I discussed the matter with some of my ministerial colleagues and we decided that there was no real urgency to warrant our sitting at 10 a.m. today rather than 11 a.m. In fact the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), who is in charge of the Bill which it is proposed that the Senate should now deal with, said that the additional hour would give honourable senators extra time in which to study the legislation in depth. For this reason the Senate met at 11 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. as was decided yesterday. I believe that this has given all honourable senators time to study the Bill about which we were speaking last night.

This is a vital piece of legislation which affects very many people. It is a view of the Government that a delay in passing the legislation would prejudice the rights of all people who have cases listed for hearing in the Australian Capita] Territory Court of Petty Sessions. There are several matters which cannot be determined until this legislation has been passed. The Australian Capital Territory Court of Petty Sessions is not dealing with any matters today and all matters which had been listed for today have been adjourned until tomorrow. In the Supreme Court, 2 pleas in criminal matters that were listed before Mr Justice

Fox have been adjourned. A claim for civil damages before Mr Justice Franki in the Supreme Court was adjourned until 11.30 this morning to enable settlement negotiations between the parties to take place. These matters cannot go on until this legislation is passed. I believe that there are a number of cases like that before the courts here and in the Northern Territory which should be dealt with but cannot be dealt with. I believe it is urgent for the Senate to go on with this legislation. That is why I moved this motion.

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