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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 3254

Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) - Following upon the point made by the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) about the exchange of letters between the Prime Minister and the State Premiers, I agree that this is the usual practice. However, there is still the problem that a Premier of a State can agree to the proposal on behalf of his Government, and in most instances that action will be ratified by the particular State Parliament. In Queensland there is an extraordinary situation, where Parliament sits for only a few months of the year. Parliament went into recess there last December and members will not appear on the scene again until next August. Had there been a change of Government last weekend I assume that the letter signed by the Premier of Queensland would not bind the new government, for the agreement would not have been even debated or discussed in the Parliament in order that it could be ratified. That is my point. I recognise the problem created by the Constitution, that it is necessary to have this drawn out process of requiring the Premiers to agree on behalf of their governments and, in turn, for the agreements to be ratified. There could be a situation like the one to which 1 referred earlier, where the Premier of Tasmania agreed to the proposal and later there was a change of government. The new Premier might not necessarily reach a similar conclusion to that of his predecessor. The same could have occurred in Queensland had there been a change of government. Therefore, my original point holds good. I still wonder why it has taken so long for this measure to get into Parliament.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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