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Monday, 28 April 1980
Page: 1860

Senator MISSEN (Victoria) -I take a slightly different line from Senator Rae. I do not have his great memory and gift for poetry. I concede that unquestionably he has won the title of poet laureate in this place. Senator McLaren, who approaches every subject with an open mouth but no subject with an open mind, is of course less adept in his poetry. As one of the scabs, as he would call me, who locked the doors in the chamber today for divisions, let me speak in rebuttal of the miserable remarks which were made tonight by three honourable senators. From their point of view we are taking the bread out of the mouths of the chamber attendants. We on the Government side appreciate the attendants and what they do for us. We were prepared to go along readily today, putting up with the fact that some things were missing. We did not complain but Senator Cavanagh was worried about a Bill being unavailable. We used our initiative. If we wanted something we went and got it.

Senator McLaren - Your Whip distributed all the Bills.

Senator MISSEN - I will not worry about what Senator McLaren has to say. We went downstairs and obtained what we wanted. We know where the Records Office is and we know where to go to get things. That is just a small example of the initiative that we show. We did not moan about the fact that we did not have a document. Immediately attention was drawn to this matter this morning a Labor senator said: Let us close up for the day. Let us go home. We cannot possibly go on'. The great workers opposite who have been sent to this chamber to represent the people of Australia wanted to go home straight away. That was their way of showing sympathy for the people who are on strike. I will not enter into the merits of the strike. If there are good causes and good justification for the strike, I hope that the workers will get good results.

Honourable senators have had to put up with a lot today. A situation arose in which a division could not be properly held. Mr President, you gave directions for the doors to be closed. We obeyed the Chair and did that. I am sure that that action was not such as to take any job from anybody. We will not do it regularly. We are not very good at doing it. After I had closed the doors, other honourable senators had some difficulty in unlocking them. Perhaps I was a little rough with the doors. I am sure that the attendants are better at locking the doors. Today I was glad to see that no Labor senators tried to lock the doors. Heaven alone knows what would have happened to the locks if they had tried to do that. What a miserable exhibition we have had tonight! This is not support for the workers; this is an indication of the miserable attitude of honourable senators opposite on this subject. We on this side of the chamber accepted with good grace that there was a strike and kept this place going. That is how honourable senators on this side of the chamber keep this country going. Honourable senators opposite always rise with an open mouth to complain about things from which they have suffered.

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