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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 1534

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Leader of the Opposition) -I take the opportunity to applaud the response that the Leader of the House (Mr Chipp) has made to this suggestion. I think the matter has arisen over the proposed Commonwealth offices at Wooloomooloo. That project was referred to the Committee when the House was in recess. Accordingly, there could be no debate on that occasion. Secondly, the Committee's report recommended against the proposal. Therefore, there could be no debate on a motion that it was expedient to carry out the work. The report in fact recommended against it. So this was a very clear case in which the House had no opportunity at all to debate the matter meaningfully, unless honourable members could tell from the blue sheet what the subject matter of the unspecified report was to be. The Leader of the House has very properly and promptly accepted the suggestion made by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), and I think this means that the blue sheet will perform its proper function. There is no suggestion that the procedure adopted in tabling that report or any other report was other than in accordance with the Public Works Committee Act and the Standing Orders, but the adoption of this suggestion will make the blue sheet more helpful and intelligent.

Mr Chipp - May I remind the honourable gentleman that it is still the prerogative of the Committee whether it wishes to tell us the subject matter of the report. The adoption of the suggestion is subject to that.

Mr WHITLAM - Quite.

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