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Thursday, 28 August 1980
Page: 914

Mr HURFORD (Adelaide) -The Opposition objects to the way that the House is being run. It is all very well for the Leader of the House (Mr Sinclair) to stand and say that he was looking for the Manager of Opposition Business. As he knows - I am sure he will concede now- his looking was by means of making this public announcement. I was in my office nearby attending to my duties when I heard him say that. I came rushing into the House. There is no question of my presence being sought earlier.

Mr Sinclair - I did send someone out. I am sorry that I did not get you in time.

Mr HURFORD - Thank you. I am glad that the Leader of the House has conceded that that is the position. However, the point is that there is no reason why the Budget should be rushed through the Parliament in this way. The Opposition made its objection to the 11 o'clock rule being suspended last night. We made our objection to General Business on Thursdays being ruled out. We made our objection to the fact that committees are meeting with so little notice that no honourable member will be able to prepare for them properly. We made our objection to the unprecedented way in which the Budget is being rushed through this Parliament with fewer hours for debate on the motion for the second reading of Bills than has been given in the history of this Parliament.

If there is a reason for this action such as an early election, why does not the Government announce that early election? When it was proposed to hold an election on 25 October in 1969, the date of the election was announced on 20 August. It is now 28 August and no such announcement has been made. We understand that the only reason there is no such announcement is that the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) will go abroad and he does not want to look foolish by calling an election before he leaves. I believe there is no excuse for calling an early election. The Australian people are faced with too many elections as it is. This Parliament ought to go its full course and the Budget ought to be properly scrutinised. We object to this course of action. However, there is a trade-off on this occasion for the Opposition not to call for a division on this matter, but I record our objection.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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