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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1372

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Ser-"vices and Property) - I move:

That the time allotted in connection with the Bil] be as follows -

For the Committee stages, until 9.45 p.m. this day

For the remaining stages, until 10.0 p.m. this day.

This is most important legislation and must be passed. Full and adequate time has been given for discussion on this Bill today and on the occasion when it was first introduced. I remind the House of what happened on the first occasion. The previous Bill was introduced on 12 April 1973 and was passed on 9 May. In that time the Government allowed 10 hours 7 minutes for discussion. At that time 5 hours 26 minutes was taken in the Committee stages and 4 hours 41 minutes on the second reading. Today we have allowed the Opposition 6 speakers in succession. Every honourable member opposite who wanted to speak this afternoon was allowed to do so and had we doubled the time for this debate it would not have allowed any more speakers from the Opposition side had Government speakers risen also. We also allowed the leader for the Opposition in the debate 50 minutes to put his case, if he so desired. Therefore, to say that there is not adequate time for discussion is completely false.

I would have thought that this was essentially a Bill to be dealt with in Committee and that Opposition members would have been well advised to do what the Government members did, that is spend their time debating the important clauses or amendments to be moved in the Committee stages. I told the Leader of the Opposition earlier in the day that this Bill had to go through tonight because it was so urgent and important. I would have thought that a man with his knowledge, background and education would have recognised the importance of this Bill and the substance of my suggestion that he should debate the important parts and not make broad speeches.

To those honourable members opposite who think that this Government has not given reasonable time for debate on this matter let me quote the record. Under previous LiberalCountry Party Governments between 1951 and 1972 the average time allowed for the second reading stages of a number of Conciliation and Arbitration Bills was 4 hours 3 minutes. The average time allowed for the Committee stages on such Bills when Opposition members were in government was 1 hour 22 minutes. The average delay after the introduction of the Bills until the House was allowed to debate them was 8 days, but on this occasion the Government has allowed the Opposition much more time than that. In addition the average time allotted for all debates on Conciliation and Arbitration Bills under the previous Government between 1951 and 1972 was 5 hours 25 minutes. Of course, honourable members opposite say that they allowed 20 hours debate last year on a Bill. But let us look at the debates on Bills introduced before that. In 1970 it was 2 hours; in 1969 it was none; in 1968 is was none; in 1967 it was 5 hours. We have to go back to 1956 to find a debate on a Conciliation and Arbitration Bill which went over 2 hours. Today this Bill has been debated since 3.25 p.m. and ere the night is out it will have taken about51/2 hours.

So honourable members opposite will have had about 16 hours to debate this measure in this House alone. Yet they say that it is not sufficient. The problem with honourable members opposite is that they want to talk on everything and, as I mentioned before, there are very few of them who have yet read the last election results. They all think they are still in office; they all think they are still running the country; they all think they can lay down the business of government. So I say to the Opposition that if it continues to waste the time of this House like it did this morning--

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