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Friday, 9 December 1983
Page: 3625


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(3.22) —I would like to indicate that the Opposition will not oppose this motion. We had understood that the order of business would be as is now proposed by the Government. I want to indicate that this is the reason for our attitude on this matter. The Government, of course, must set its own priorities and the public will judge whether or not it agrees with those priorities. This is not a matter for me to debate now. I wanted to indicate that the reason we will not support Senator Harradine's view is that it was our understanding always that the Government would bring this legislation on.

The only other matter I want to touch on concerns some complaint about a matter of urgency being brought on for debate. I point out that in the last eight sitting days I think the matter of urgency moved by the Opposition this afternoon was the only one in the last sitting days-a very unusually long break between such motions. That is because we have chosen to give priority to debate on legislation. Obviously, at the end of the session with a good deal of important legislation still to be considered, generally our view would be that such legislation should be dealt with. Given the very great restraint we have shown in bringing forward matters of public importance, I regret that the Government saw fit to gag the one remaining Opposition speaker. On behalf of the Opposition, I indicate that I do not believe that this action encourages us to show restraint in bringing such matters forward. I want our position on this matter to be quite clear.