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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2175

The PRESIDENT - Order! I interrupt you for a moment. I cannot take any notice of matters which have been arranged outside the chamber.

Senator Greenwood - The point I am coming to - those remarks were by way of explanation - is that nothing was said until this morning, when the matter has come up in due course, and Senator Murphy now moves a motion which is not the motion of which he gave notice as it appears on the Notice Paper. It is a motion which specifies particular sections. I take the point only that this is a matter of importance because unless the matter is resolved today or on Tuesday this Ordinance will be disallowed automatically.

I feel that it is a matter of real concern to come into the Senate and to find that what I am to face is an argument of particularity whereas what I was anticipating was, if any argument was to be raised at all, an argument of generality which I am prepared to meet. I take the point that no proper notice has been given of the motion which is now before the Senate. In those circumstances, Senator Murphy either can move his motion as it appears on the notice paper or can utilise what procedures are available to him in order to deal with the particular clauses. However, I do object to the motion which Senator Murphy has now moved on the ground that no notice of it has been given.

The PRESIDENT - This is a very technical matter and I would like the indulgence of the Senate in order to consult the Clerks in relation to it. Senator Murphy, I understand that you wish to reply to Senator Greenwood's point of order.

Senator Murphy - The situation seems to me to be fairly clear. The matter arises under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act. There is provision in that Act for the giving of a notice which may be directed to an ordinance or part of an ordinance. For example, section 12 (4.) reads:

If either House of the Parliament, in pursuance of a motion of which notice has been given within 15 sitting days after an Ordinance has been laid before that House, passes a resolution disallowing the Ordinance or a part of the Ordinance, the Ordinance or part so disallowed shall thereupon cease to have effect.

It is the oldest rule in the world that in these enactments the singular includes the plural. When one gives notice in relation to an ordinance, that notice covers all parts of that ordinance and is to be treated as if it referred to each part of that ordinance. An ordinance contains a number of parts. The notice is to be read distributively, and if I choose to proceed not on all parts but only on several of the parts of the ordinance, it seems to me that the motion is in order strictly within the terms of section 12. In any event, the same procedure has been adopted on earlier occasions. This matter has come before the Senate on about 3 previous occasions. The point of the matter is quite clear. The question to which my motion is directed is whether in the Australian Capital Territory there will be a divided legal profession or a single legal profession. The suggestion that the Attorney-General is in some difficulty because he prepared himself to argue not only on that matter but also on about 14 other matters just will not hold water.

Senator Greenwood - I did not say that.

Senator Murphy - The Attorney-General said that he came prepared to argue on the generality and not the particularity of the matter. I submit, with respect, that the motion is in order. It is covered by the notice which I have given. The AttorneyGeneral might have some complaint and might be right if I had given a notice directed to several parts of the ordinance and then sought to go beyond that; but as I gave notice directed to all the parts of the ordinance, I submit that it is in order to restrict the motion to several parts of the ordinance. If it is necessary, I will seek leave to move the motion; but I submit that it is not necessary to seek leave and that the motion is in order.

The PRESIDENT - That is the next step. I will hear the Attorney-General.

Senator Greenwood - I wish to correct something that I said previously, insofar as it may have relevance, and that is that today - not next Tuesday - is the last day we have on which to resolve this matter. I think that whatever be the state of preparedness in which I find myself - that is not strictly a matter of argument directed to the point, but it is a matter which indicates how important it is that the rules be observed - the simple fact of the matter is that, if a notice of motion is put on the business paper, when the time comes to move the motion the mover can move only in the terms of the notice which has been given, and that is not what Senator Murphy is doing.

The PRESIDENT - I must rule that the Attorney-General's point of order be upheld; but, on the other hand, in relation to those areas to which Senator Murphy wishes to confine himself he could seek the leave of the Senate to amend his motion.

Senator Murphy - I ask for leave to amend the motion so as to restrict it to the parts which I have indicated.

The PRESIDENT - Is leave granted?

Senator McManus - I do not intend to refuse leave in view of the fact that this is the last day for the examination of the proposition. However, I do make the strongest possible protest that Senator Murphy and his Party, having determined to change their ground in relation to this matter, have given no notice at all to my Party. We are completely in the dark as to any arrangements that have been made in this respect. I have said before, and I say it again, that where this kind of situation arises it is a matter of ordinary courtesy that the leaders or acting leaders of all the parties in the Senate be advised.

The PRESIDENT - Is leave granted?

Senator Greenwood - No.

The PRESIDENT - There being objection, leave is not granted.

Senator MURPHY - I suppose that some amendment can be made at a later stage if these procedural difficulties are to be raised by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood). I move:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent my moving: That clauses 10 and 11 of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance 1972, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance 1972 No. 4, and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910-1970, be disallowed.

Question put:

That the motion to suspend Standing Orders (Senator Murphy's) be agreed to.

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