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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2288

Senator GREENWOOD (VictoriaAttorneyGeneral) - 1 move:

That the time allotted for the consideration of the remainder of the Bill be as follows:

For the remainder of the Committee stage of the Bill, until 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 31sl May 1972;

For the remaining stages of the Bill, until 12.45 p.m. on Wednesday, 31st May 1972.

I want to explain, having moved that motion, that the Government regrads this as a Bill which should be passed as soon as possible. It is a matter which can be viewed from several standpoints. In the first place this Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives on 26th April and after a period of adjournment of debate it was passed through that place after some 22 hours had been allotted for debate. Debate on the Bill commenced in the Senate last Tuesday and it has been debated continuously since that date.

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It has not. You know that is not the truth.

Senator GREENWOOD - If the point at issue is that it has not been debated continuously but has been debated after question time, then I stand corrected. I assume that all honourable senators assume that when one refers to continuous debate it is not debate at the expense of question time. However, it has been debated for a period of a week. Five more hours were spent on the second reading debate in the Senate than were spent in the House of Representatives and this chamber has half the number of members that the House of Representatives has. I have said, with ample evidence to sustain and to justify the comment, that we witnessed a filibustering experience in this place last week. If exception is to be taken to the fact that the debate at the Committee stage must be curtailed, then I believe that Opposition senators have only themselves to blame if they feel that blame is to be apportioned.

What we have seen this evening justifies the course we have taken, I believe, because we have heard, in many of the comments at the Committee stage of the Bill, cameo second reading speeches and that is not the fuction of the Committee stage. A further point, Mr Chairman, is that the House of Representatives rose last Thursday and is awaiting the passage and return to that place of this Bill. In all the circumstances the Government believes that the appropriate course is to indicate the time which will be available for the termination of proceedings. Accordingly I have moved for the guillotining of this debate.

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