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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 3341

Mr GILES (Angas) - In the brief time that I have at my disposal I want to deal with only one point. We have here what must appear to many Australians to be the height of hypocrisy. The supporters of the Government are backing certain moves designed to effect the holding of simultaneous elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives at any subsequent election. I draw the attention of the House - it is not the first time it has been done, but I think it is worth repeating - to a book dated June 1972 entitled Labor's Way - A Summary of Information on the Policy of the Australian Labor Party'. On page 12 in section 4, in relation to constitutional matters, it says that Labor's way is to abolish the Senate. Surely to blazes the people in the Australian community of today who think out these things must think that there is really nothing more pathetic than to see-

Mr Birrell - Come around tomorrow and I will give you a copy of the Labor Party's policy.

Mr GILES - The honourable member for Port Adelaide does not believe in the right, to existence of the Senate. I ask him whether he denies that statement.

Mr Birrell - No, I do not deny it. It is there. I have to put up with it.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Adelaide will cease interjecting. The honourable member for Angas will address the Chair and ignore interjections.

Mr GILES - I imagine that the honourable member for Port Adelaide is in the same position as 90 per cent of the supporters of the Government in that he does not believe in the right to existence of the Senate. It is written into the Australian Labor Party's platform that the Senate should be abolished. Of course I exonerate you, Mr Speaker, because of your occupancy of the Chair, but nearly everybody on the other side of the chamber is of the view that there should be no upper House in the federal structure of this country. Despite that they are now trying to line up a method whereby simultaneous elections will be held for both Houses. Nothing can be more pathetic in the eyes of the people of Australia than that. A little earlier in the debate a phrase was coined which I rather appreciated. This move was referred to as a permanent solution to a temporary situation. What could be closer to the truth than that? Previous governments, including governments of a different political complexion from the present Government, have had to put up with the same situation as the present Government. Any government that is worth its salt can certainly prune its legislation to meet the circumstances of an upper House, particularly an upper House, might I add in the 30 seconds left to me, that is different from, say, the upper House in the New South Wales ParliamentI am not going to debate it in that it is elected by the people of Australia.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The time allotted for the second reading of the Bill has expired.

Question put:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

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