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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2177

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Leader of the House) - I move:

That, in relation to the proceedings on the following Bills, so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the House making one declaration of urgency and moving one motion for the allotment of time in respect of all the Bills: Pipeline Authority Bill 1973, Prices Justification Bill 1973, Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1973 and Seas and Submerged Lands (Royalty on Minerals) Bill 1973.

I have no intention of speaking at length on this motion, although the Standing Orders provide that I can exercise at least 20 minutes in addressing myself to it. I have no desire to do what the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) did when he moved his motion recently, that is, waste the time of the House when debate ought to be proceeding on these important measures. One of the reasons for this motion was indicated this morning by the honourable member for Mackellar; it is the wasting of time by certain Opposition members of whom he is the prime mover. I mention also that the Opposition was advised last Thursday that these Bills were to be brought forward and that all of them would be debated before the next Opposition Party meeting next Wednesday. As honourable members know the practice in the Parliament is to adjourn debates on new legislation to allow sufficient time for a party meeting to take place after the introduction of Bills and to determine the attitude to be adopted to that legislation. The only alteration to the priorities indicated to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) last Thursday is that the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill 1973 has been moved forward and the Australian National Airlines Bill 1973 has been held over until next week. This follows the review of priorities made by the Government this week because of events in the nation.

The Opposition has had, in effect, 3 years to determine its position on. the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill. If honourable members opposite believe that they have not had time to consider the Bill they should recall all the speeches that have been made on this measure in the last 3 years. This Government proposes to do what the previous Government never did, that is, give honourable members the opportunity to make up their minds one way or the other on this legislation. A number of public pronouncements have been made in past months concerning the Prices Justification Bill 1973 and the Pipeline Authority Bill 1973. Therefore, the Opposition can hardly say that it has been taken by surprise by the introduction of these Bills. I mention also that I understand that a number of honourable members opposite desire to speak on this Bill. A simple theory is adopted by honourable members opposite when Bills are first introduced. They run around, obtain the names of every Opposition member and give them to their Whip who lists them as wishing to speak on the Bill. The same thing has been done on this occasion. I must confess that I was unable to reach agreement with the Opposition that all these honourable members on the list of speakers would be able to speak on these Bills. Consequently, as I do not wish to take up the time available for debate on the Pipeline Authority Bill - and I mention to honourable members who intend to participate that this is part of the time in which the Bill ought to be debated - having moved that motion, I will conclude.

Mr LYNCH(Flinders) 12.25)- Speaking on behalf of the Opposition Parties, I believe the motion which the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) has moved on behalf of the Government is completely disgraceful and discreditable. Its intention is to deny to this House and to the Opposition Parties the opportunity of adequately examining and exposing 5 of the Government's most important policy Bills. They are the Pipeline Authority Bill, the Prices Justification Bill, the Seas and Submerged Lands Bill, the Seas and Submerged Lands (Royalty on Minerals) Bill and also the Australian National Airlines Bill which we understand is to be brought forward for debate early next week. As the Leader of the House is well aware, the revised arrangement was not brought to my attention until 9.30 last night. Obviously, this followed the issuing of new instructions by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) who is seeking to close down the House for reasons which we on this side thoroughly understand. This is because of the manner in which the Government is presently under attack from significant sections of the Australian community.

Many members from both of the Opposition parties wish to speak on these 5 measures. We have not sought, as the Leader of the House indicated, deliberately to contrive some list which includes persons who are not prepared to speak. All the members shown on the Opposition list as wishing to speak to these quite substantial Bills are intent on speaking and their opportunities to do so will be effectively denied by the passing of this motion. We oppose the motion. We believe it is an abuse of the House and a contempt of the workings of the Parliament. It is a further indication that the concept of open government has now been indecently interred by a government of double standards unprepared to practise in this House what it has preached outside it in the pre-Federal election period.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - Democracy is being raped.

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