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Friday, 26 May 1972
Page: 2211

Senator GREENWOOD (VictoriaAttorneyGeneral) - Clause 2 makes provision in relation to the time at which the legislation will come into operation. As a result of the decision which has been taken it is apparent that this Bill will be sent back to the House of Representatives as a Bill to be amended. That eventuality, although it was always possible, could not really be anticipated until it had occurred. It has now occurred. Accordingly, it is desired to amend clause 2. 1 move:

Leave out sub-clause (2) insert the following sub-clauses:

(2)   Sections 41, 49 and 53 of this Act shall come into operation on such respective dates as are fixed by Proclamation. (2a) Sections 51 and 58 of this Act shall be deemed to have come into operation on the twenty-sixth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and seventy-two'.

The 26th day of May is, of course, today. The matters covered by sections 51 and 68 are the new amalgamation proceedings. These matters were not mentioned in the statement that was made in December by the Minister for Labour and National Ser vice (Mr Lynch) but they were raised in the speech which was delivered by the Minister in the House of Representatives on 26th April. It was intended with regard to amalgamations occurring after that date that the new provisions would apply, and it is intended to ensure that they do apply as from 26th May, which is today.

Senator Cavanagh - Why?

Senator GREENWOOD - The purpose is to have a cut-off date when one shall know precisely what is the date on which the new provisions come into operation.

Senator Cavanagh - Why can it not be a month's time?

Senator GREENWOOD - Any requests which have been made for amalgamation prior to this date will, of course, operate under the old provisions. That is guaranteed by section 68.

Senator Poyser - Any requests?

Senator GREENWOOD - Any valid requests made prior to 26th May will come into operation in the language of section 68 on the basis of the pre-existing provisions. But any attempts or desires to have amalgamation hereafter will come into effect after 26th May. It was asked: Why is the amendment moved? We on this side have heard rumours - we do not know what the position is but we certainly have seen a filibustering performance under which-

Senator Murphy - I rise to order. Last night the Acting Deputy President ruled that the honourable senator should not use such expressions. This is a reflection upon the House. Every person who spoke did so in conformity with the Standing Orders. As I understand it, the debate on the second reading was so conducted that every person fitted in with the time limits except the Attorney-General himself who was, by courtesy of the House, given an extension of time. The Opposition here, as a matter of fairness, to avoid problems which would otherwise arise, has allowed second reading speeches to be incorporated and has cooperated so that this matter could be conducted in the ordinary course. So I submit that the ruling which the Acting Deputy President gave, which was not d:r.v.r;>cd from, should be adhered to and the AttorneyGeneral should not be allowed to make such observations.

Senator O'Byrne - Speaking to the point of order, I would like to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that the insinuation that there has been a filibuster can be answered by my saying that I presented a list of speakers as soon as the second reading debate commenced. The list was before the President for the whole time. Not one addition was made to the list of speakers. It is quite wrong to make the insinuation that there has been a filibuster to be continued.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse - I suggest that the Minister proceed with the clause without referring to previous episodes.

Senator GREENWOOD - I can only say that if it is not desired that I should explain the reasons because the explanation of the reasons gives offence to honourable senators I am afraid they will be looking elsewhere for an explanation. We on this side are aware of what has been happening. It is useless for Senator Murphy to deny what we all know. Let us call a spade a spade.

Senator Murphy - What are you trying to achieve by this amendment?

Senator GREENWOOD - The Leader of the Opposition does not like me calling it a filibuster because he says that 'filibuster' is not a word to be used. But we have observed in this chamber in the past 3 days a prolonged, delaying debate from members of the Opposition and we have heard outside the chamber and with some innuendos inside the chamber - that the purpose is to achieve some objective in this amalgamation field. I do not know whether it is or not, but the Government desires to have this legislation through as speedily as possible. It is quite clear that there has to be a cut off date somewhere. If this legislation had been passed yesterday or today the cut off date would have been today. In those circumstances, we have moved this amendment to indicate quite clearly that this is the cut off date. As far as the Government is concerned the debate can proceed in the sure knowledge, if it is the Senate's wish, that that is our intention.

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