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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 3310

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I remind the honourable member for Chifley that he is now discussing the reasons why Standing Orders should be suspended. I do not want him to debate the substantive motions.

Mr ARMITAGE - It is important that the Standing Orders be suspended at this point of time so that these Bills may be passed through this House within the necessary time so that the. people can express their opinions on the vital issues involved. It is the only way that this can be done. If we do not go ahead with the Bills now, the people will not be able to express their opinions at the required time by exercising their right to a democratic vote. For that reason, unfortunately this action is necessary. I remind the House that a great deal of time is wasted here. I fully agree with what the Leader of the House said a few moments ago. If honourable members opposite want to get home for Christmas, we shall have to get on with the business before us. We are happy to stay here.


Mr ARMITAGE - That is up to you.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! Some honourable members will be spending the rest of the day outside if they do not keep quiet.

Mr ARMITAGE - Thank you, Mr Speaker. The fact is that unless time wasting procedures are dispensed with, and unless honourable members opposite play their part in getting through one of the heaviest legislative programs in the history of this Parliament, we shall not get home for Christmas. This Government has had to put up about twice as many Bills this session as have been introduced in any other session. It must do so to implement the proposals that were endorsed by the people, but unfortunately we are getting frustration after frustration, and time is being continually wasted to stop the Government from getting on with its big legislative program. There is one important key issue here. The purpose of this legislation - -

Mr Giles - On a point of order. Is it correct that the honourable member should accuse us of wasting time while every sentence of his is wasting the time of the House?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no point of order involved.

Mr ARMITAGE - The important issue here is that the people have the right to a democratic vote on the basic issues covered by the proposed legislation. One of these issues is their right to determine whether there should be democratic elections in this country. It is the right of the people to vote on these issues, and the sooner we get on with the job of passing the legislation to make this possible, and the sooner members of the Opposition desist from their obstructive tactics and their raising of unimportant issues, the sooner the people will be able to express their opinion. I ask the House to support the motion. It is unfortunate that it may be necessary to resort to the guillotine to get these measures through, but the fact is that this Government's record on guillotines is far better than that of the previous Government, which guillotined 17 Bills and gagged another 3 in one day.

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