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Thursday, 17 October 1985
Page: 1427

Senator COONEY(4.54) —Mr Acting Deputy President, I wish to say a few words about this matter. All the parties in this House, it appears, have a free vote on this matter. I get the feeling about the place, despite what Senator Puplick says, that many honourable senators have yet to make up their minds about the matter. Honourable senators would like to inform their minds, and inform themselves, on the basis of proper evidence and proper discussions. In those circumstances, on a point that everyone here today has agreed upon as being a very important and serious point, particularly as there will be no party line to be adopted by anyone and where everyone has to make up his own mind, of course we want our minds informed.

In those circumstances, why should we not have a committee? Why should we be told that there is not enough money to have a select committee? As senators in one of the two Houses which govern and which bring legislation into this Parliament for the good government of this country, why should we not ask for a committee so that we can exercise our minds on the sort of evidence brought before that committee and the sorts of submissions put before that committee? No matter how many committees there are, why should we not have another one when it is a matter as serious as this? Is the situation going to arise in this country where the Parliament cannot properly exercise its mind and where it has to choose between committees? Why should we not have all the committees we already have, plus another one? Why should we not go ahead as a parliament and do that?

Senator Georges —You have just shown an interest, and that is highly dangerous, I would say.

Senator COONEY —I am interested in the question of in vitro fertilisation. Of course I am. I am also interested in the question of where the Parliament sits in relation to the Executive. As I understand it, the Parliament is the supreme body that passes legislation. That is what we are going to do and why should we not have a committee to tell us how we are going to pass it? The committee should not tell us what to do, but is should provide evidence, submissions and thoughts whereby honourable senators can exercise their free minds on this. It is not very often that we can exercise a free mind in this place. When we have got that opportunity, why should we not take it and why should we not go ahead and properly exercise it? I reckon we should have a select committee.