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Wednesday, 18 September 1985
Page: 690


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(3.21) —I indicate that the Government will not oppose the motion to suspend Standing Orders to enable Senator Durack's amending motion to be put. We earlier refused leave because to give leave to move an amendment would have been utterly at odds with the terms of the Standing Orders, which make it clear that urgency motions are not to be subect to amendment. As Senator Durack has decided that he wants to pursue the matter, we will cheerfully accede to his request and allow the suspension of Standing Orders to enable him to proceed straight to putting his amendment in effect to split the motion. I make it clear that when that motion is put we will oppose it with a great deal of vigour simply because, in seeking to split the motion, as Senator Durack has foreshadowed, he is attempting to get the Opposition off the hook on which it has impaled itself.

The reality is that opposition to apartheid only means something not in statements of principle but in the context of worked out programs of opposition. Hitherto the Government and the Opposition have adopted a completely bipartisan approach in the attitudes that we as a nation have taken to apartheid. It is supremely obvious that that bipartisan approach no longer exists, and Senator Durack's strategy is designed to enable that fact to become clear. We will enable it to become clear by letting him put his motion and we will vote against it. It thoroughly deserves to be defeated.