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Monday, 15 March 1971

Senator BYRNE (Queensland) - I raised this matter earlier, but it was thought more appropriate that I raise it at this stage. Firstly I wondered why Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson's motion was expressed in terms which meant that the committees should have referred to them subjects which can be dealt with expeditiously. Does that mean subjects that come within a limited range of examination or which can be dealt with by a committee which has not before it already a great number of matters for investigation? Precisely what is meant by 'expeditiously'? If it is the first, it is in consonance with the altitude of the Democratic Labor Party that standing committees are not the appropriate bodies for references of a major character which will require intensive investigation, involving the examination of many witnesses over a lengthy period of lime. Our attitude is well known. It has been staled and re-stated. For that reason, in view of the interpretation placed upon those words by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson, I would be disposed, and the Democratic Labor Party would be disposed to support the continued inclusion of this proposition in the resolution if it is meant that the types of subjects for reference should be within the limited scope so that they may be capable of ready examination and of rather rapid report. I should be pleased if Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson would clarify that for me.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON -by leave The words are not to be regarded as having the precision that a lawyer may accord them but rather as guidelines of intention and desirability. These words, as was said by way of aside by Senator Murphy, may well be contentious at a later time, but the clear intention of the resolution is that we should deal with submissions reasonably expeditiously. The Senate will have to make a judgement in relation to the subject matter and the capacity to deal with them expeditiously. The words mean no more than that. It is not possibleto spell out with complete precision the terms of a resolution that we might have.

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