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Thursday, 2 November 1967

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (Minister for Immigration) (1:22 AM) - I can understand the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) taking this point because it is some time since this procedure was necessary. But the fact is that this procedure has been followed previously in precisely the way in which it has been followed tonight; namely, that a motion is moved for the formation of a committee and then the committee presents its reasons, having discussed the matter at an earlier point of time. That is the fact in this instance.

Mr Crean - When did the members of the committee discuss it?

Mr SNEDDEN - Earlier this evening there was consultation by the Ministers concerned. This procedure in precisely this form, is as old as this Parliament. The honourable gentleman leaves it rather late in the development of our parliamentary system and practices to take this objection, when so many other people who in the past have sat in the chair in which he is now sitting have failed to do so.

Mr CREAN(Melbourne Ports) - by leave - The Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) has suggested that this procedure has been adopted in the past. I should like him to indicate, after consultation on the records if necessary, when this procedure was last followed. I am not one who believes that because a procedure has been followed once it is necessarily correct. I do not mind fiction becoming fact if everybody seriously acknowledges it. But I do not think any honourable member on the Government side of the House can really recollect when this procedure was last adopted.

Mr Bury - I can.

Mr CREAN - I hope that the Minister for Labour and National Service will stand up and indicate when this procedure was last adopted. I will give him leave to do that, if necessary. I suggest that occasionally the matter of the relations between the two Houses of the Parliament becomes important. Nobody denies that, except in respect of certain Bills, the Senate's powers are identical with those of the House of Representatives. As I understand the position, the only Bills in respect of which the Senate's powers are not identical with those of the House of Representatives are money Bills. The Bill with which we are dealing is not a money Bill. It deals with industrial relations affecting public employees. I, on behalf of my Party, will not allow somebody to look over his shoulder and say that a committee has been appointed and has made a decision, or allow something which obviously would have taken at least some minutes to prepare to be accepted as the real decision of the committee. All I am suggesting to the Minister is that the result of the deliberations be left until Wednesday. Let us then consider the proprieties, if I may so term them, of the action which is proposed and consider other occasions on which this course has been adopted. I remind the House that we forced the sitting next Wednesday. I submit, with respect, that the motion that I moved earlier should be accepted, namely:

That the reasons be resubmitted to the committee and the result of the deliberations of the committee be presented to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 8th November.

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