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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2290

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) - 1 oppose the proposal advanced by the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood), not because 1 do not believe that an arrangement cannot be worked out between Senator Murphy and Senator Drake-Brockman - I think that the leaders in the Senate should decide the question - but because I object to the way in which the motion was introduced in the Senate. In my opinion it is a substantial breach of parliamentary procedure at a time when the tensions of honourable senators are very high. What we should guard against - and 1 hope you, Mr Temporary Chairman, and the President are listening - is a repetition of the situation which occurred some years ago late in a session when important Bills were being debated and honourable senators took a very great and deep interest in the matters. Honourable senators were becoming more and more concerned and on occasions became personally involved with one another. I remember the Willesee-Gorton incident which is on the literary records of Australia.

On this side of the chamber we have at least 8 honourable senators who have spent years as trade union leaders and we also have some very accomplished legal people. I am not patting myself on the back, if honourable senators think that is what I am doing. But many honourable senators on this side, such as Senator Cavanagh, Senator Milliner, Senator Brown, Senator Cameron, have for 20 or 30 years been protecting the rights of union members in shearing sheds and furniture factories, night and day. Would anybody expect them to sit here like robots while the Minister in charge of this Bill in a most aggressive and militant way deals with the points that they raise. That is the issue that is developing in the Senate tonight and let us recognise it. The Minister in charge of the legislation in this place is a most unsuitable person to have charge of the legislation. He is most aggressive and seems to engage in these personal activities with honourable senators, as a result of which senators with great experience resent him. We have some difficulties occasionally with the Minister for Works (Senator Wright), who represents the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), but at no time can I remember dealing with former conciliation and arbitration Bills as we have dealt with this Bill. lt comes down not to discussing what progress we will make but to an important Senate procedure. The person who is handling the Bill - young enough to be brilliant in many respects but with an almost minimum amount of industrial experience - is trying to tell people on this side of the House who have had years of experience that they do not know what they are talking about or they are repeating themselves. This legislation contains matters important to everybody in Australia and particularly to unionists. I hope that when we proceed tomorrow there will be some arrangement between the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy). After all, Senator DrakeBrockman is currently the Leader of the Government in the Senate, most of us respect his efforts and I hope he and Senator Murphy will work out an arrangement which will be fair. We should nol let develop in this place a situation which could lead to worse tensions than there have been tonight.

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