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Thursday, 1 March 1973
Page: 144

Mr LUCHETTI (Macquarie) - Parliament should finish with this puerile, pettifogging discussion on the question of whether there should be 2 minutes or 3 minutes to permit honourable members and Ministers to come into the chamber. The Parliament should settle down to the important business of government. This shows the bankruptcy of responsibility of the Opposition which has taken so much time to oppose a proposal that the time to permit honourable members and Ministers to come into this place should be extended by one minute. This is not a subject which concerns the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) alone. This subject is one which concerns every member of the Parliament. In particular it concerns members of the Cabinet who will be attending meetings and who will be required to come from their meeting place into this chamber when a division is called. With all the major questions facing this nation - fiscal matters, international matters and matters of great concern on the domestic front such as housing, education and social welfare - the Parliament has wasted more than an hour this afternoon discussing this question. Surely there should not be an argument.

There is an extraordinary circumstance at the present time. As the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) has said, the Prime Minister's suite has been dismantled and his offices have been moved to the most distant extremity of the Senate building. These are important considerations. They are facts that should not be overlooked. If some of the younger 60 year olds on the Opposition side feel that they do not require 3 minutes they should have regard to the membership of the Parliament generally and make provision in accordance with the present circumstances. 1 regret very much that the great issues of this country have been halted, temporarily at least, for a discussion of a matter which ought to have been determined by a statement from the Leader of the House and by some acceptable point of view from the members of the Opposition. They have not been prepared to face up to the major questions facing this nation. They want to oppose the extension of time from 2 minutes to 3 minutes. I repeat that it only shows the utter bankruptcy of responsibility of an Opposition which cannot settle down to the real business of this nation.

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