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Monday, 15 October 1973
Page: 2115

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! Is the motion seconded?

Mr Ian Robinson (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.

Dr Forbes - I second the amendment.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The House will come to order, particularly those in the gallery. I think that in future members need to be a little quicker on their feet and a lot of trouble will be saved.

Mr SINCLAIR - The practice of this House has always been that honourable members should be given a fair and adequate opportunity to speak in this chamber on legislation which is submitted to them for consideration. We have before us at the moment a Bill called the Broadcasting Stations Licence Fees Bill. All honourable members of this Parliament are concerned about the opportunities there are foi them to speak on the air and to use mass media both for the dissemination of information relative to their own particular interests and the availability and the content of matter that is used by broadcasting stations. This legislation relates to licence fees pertinent to broadcasting stations. There has been complete denial of the opportunity of any honourable member of this Parliament to talk in the second reading debate. I believe that there was unfortunate confusion as to the first speaker listed but the fact that there was only a first speaker is significant. The Leader of the House, the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) suggested that there is a list of speakers and that the person whose name was at the head of that list was not here and consequently it was quite obvious that there was to be no debate. The fact that there were 2 Government supporters and something like 6 or 7 Opposition members wishing to speak is ignored.

In the case of most legislation dealt with in this Parliament there has been a second reading debate. For us not now to have the opportunity of having a second reading debate is indicative of the sort of tactics that the Leader of the House and the Government seek to pursue. The Government is not interested in hearing about the causes and consequences of the pattern of legislation which it has introduced. It is more interested in trying to push things through. Its view is: To hell with the consequences no matter how people are affected by the legislation. This Parliament can survive only if the people elected to represent the Australian people are given a reasonable opportunity of expressing a point of view on legislation which materially affects every Australian. This legislation is important. I believe it is significant that quite a number of speakers were listed. The nature of the legislation covers an area of concern, not only to parliamentarians, but also to people whereever they are in Australia. Yet there is to be no second reading debate.

The Leader of the Government apparently has decided to exercise arbitrary judgment and to deny an opportunity for all those members to speak other than he whose name was first on the list and who was not here in the chamber at the time. This is completely unacceptable. I regard your ruling, Mr Deputy Speaker, as quite regrettable. You, I understand, as a Deputy Speaker, perhaps have not had the opportunity of being in the chair throughout each stage of this debate and other debates. But whoever is in the chair, whether it be you, acting on behalf of Mr Speaker, or Mr Speaker himself, should provide adequate opportunity for members to debate significant issues. It ill behoves the Leader of the House to deny the opportunity for honourable members to talk on matters of this character. I believe that this is an instance which needs to be driven home to the people of Australia of how power is now running to the heads of the members of this Labor Government. There is no denying that they are forgetting all about those who elected them. They are not concerned about hearing the point of view of the average Australian. The Minister for Minerals and Energy-

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