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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3383

Senator LEWIS(12.21) —I cannot allow to pass the criticisms of the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) of honourable senators on this side of the chamber for not having the debate on the Referendum (Constitution Alteration ) Amendment Bill 1983 over and done with by noon today. If the Attorney-General wants co-operation I suggest to him that he stop trying to be the winner in every debate. The truth is that the Government has brought in a whole series of amendments which comprise some six pages. It is a nonsense to say that the Opposition was concerned that it might have to bring in amendments. Of course the Opposition was concerned about amendments because it could see the defects in the Bill. That is the first point I wish to raise. The second point is that the Attorney-General should not say that it is the Opposition's fault in some way or other that this Bill will not be debated in the other place tomorrow. The Government last night at 9.15 p.m. brought on the Sex Discrimination Bill 1983 when we were halfway through the debate on this matter. I cannot sit here and allow the Attorney-General to make these allegations improperly and unfairly.

The CHAIRMAN —The matter before the Chair concerns amendments Nos. (8) and (9) to clause 9. I have allowed the debate to widen because the Attorney-General raised another matter but it is not the matter before the Chair. Does Senator Walters wish to speak to the amendments or to the matter raised by the Attorney- General?