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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2293

Senator McMANUS (Victoria) - I have listened for about two or three weeks to the contributions of Opposition senators to the debate on this Bill; I think it is about time somebody else got a chance to speak. I want to say that the Australian Democratic Labor Party will support this motion. After the long hours during which we have listened to second reading speeches on this Bill - many of them were repetition - I do not know of one further argument that could be put before this chamber, even if we were to sit for the next couple of months. Every aspect of the Bill has been fully debated. We have had lengthy debates on it at the second reading and committee stages. I have not troubled the chamber on the matter. The Australian Labor Party has had plenty of opportunities to put its case. If it alleges that it is sincere in its actions, I would like to know why it has. required! three or four divisions to be conducted, one after the other. If it is- anxious to debate the provisions of the Bill, I would like to know why, immediately after one division ' has been' concluded, Opposition' senators have called for another division on practically the same question, and then for a third and a fourth division. If anybody tells me that that was not a filibuster then he does not know the meaning of the word 'filibuster'.

Senator Milliner - Perhaps the honourable senator knows it.

Senator McMANUS - I know the meaning of it, having had to listen to Senator Milliner and his colleagues for the last couple of weeks. During that time we have had interminable speeches repeating the same thing over and over again from people who claim that they want the Bill dealt with in a reasonable manner and without any trouble. What has happened during that time? What happened on Friday afternoon is a disgrace to the Senate. What has happened tonight is a disgrace to the Senate. I have been a member of this chamber for many years. During that time I have never heard such insulting language used to a Chairman of Committees as was used in this chamber tonight. In my view the traditions of the Senate have been dealt a very severe blow over the last 2 sitting days. I have been present when honourable senators, including members of the Australian Labor Party, have had grievances against Ministers and have expressed their feelings in a reasonable way in accordance with the forms of the Senate. They have not grossly insulted a Chairman of Committees in the way that the Chairman of Committees was insulted here today and last Friday.

When people call out the most insulting language that one could imagine and are put out of the Senate for misbehaving in that way and others get up and repeat it the Senate ceases to be a Senate; it becomes in the view of some people a place in which they can indulge in hooliganism. I feel that action ought to have been taken after the events of last Friday. I believe that there should be discussions between the President of the Senate and the leaders of the parties with a view to obviating this kind of thing in the future. I intend to vote for this motion because I feel that the disgraceful way in which the proceedings of the Senate have been carried on in the last couple of days leaves me with no alternative. The sooner we get into recess and get the nasty taste of what has happened out of our mouths the better.

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