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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 835


The PRESIDENT - Order! The AttorneyGeneral may move such a motion but he may not debate it


Senator GREENWOOD - I therefore declare that the Ordinances and Regulations (Notification) Bill 1972 is an urgent Bill, and move:

That the Bill be considered an urgent Bill.


Senator Willesee - Mr President, I would like your guidance on the opening words of standing order 407b, which read:

When a motion for leave to introduce a Bill is called on, or when a 'Message is received from the House of Representatives transmitting a Bill for concurrence, or at any other stage . . .

It seems to me that these are the times when a Bill should be declared to be an urgent Bill, and not at a later stage. We have just debated a proposition in relation to this legislation for 30 minutes. It seems to me that the Attorney-General has adopted the wrong approach.


Senator Murphy - Mr President, in amplification of what Senator Willesee has said, I wish to say that it seems to me that standing order 407b provides that a Bill may be declared to be an urgent Bill when a motion for leave to introduce that Bill is called on - and that is not happening; when a message is received from the House of Representatives transmitting that Bill for concurrence - and that is not happening; or at any other stage of the Bill-


Senator Webster - That is happening.


Senator Murphy - That is not happening because it has not been called on.


The PRESIDENT - The Bill has not been called on.


Senator Murphy - You, Mr President, in response to the interruption of Senator Webster and others, have ruled that it has not been called on. I repeat that that is not happening. I have stated the 3 occasions on which a Minister may declare that a Bill is an urgent Bill and not one of those is happening. Mr President, may I suggest, with respect, that when the Bill is called on Senator James McClelland should receive the call as he is in the course of his speech. When Senator James McClelland has finished and someone from the other side is called, the course proposed by the Attorney-General can be taken in accordance with the proper courtesies. But I suggest, with respect, that in accordance with the dignity of the Senate and the requirements of the relevant standing order the Attorney-General is out of order because of the rule that a senator ought not to be interrupted. Senator James McClelland ought to be allowed to conclude his speech. If the Government then wants to take some Draconian course, let it commence upon its erosion of parliamentary rights.


Senator GREENWOOD - I would have thought that the interpretation which is made by the Leader of the Opposition and by Senator Willesee is a very narrow one. The precise words are 'at any other stage of a Bill'. That does not mean that the Bill has to be called on for debate. It does not matter whether a Bill is in the course of being debated at the second reading stage or in committee or in any other stage of the Bill. It means that at any time from the introduction of a Bill until the Bill has been passed a Minister may rise in order to do this. I would suggest that it would be an unreal interpretation to say that before a Bill is called on a Minister may not move by way of indication given earlier in the day for example, that the Bill is to be declared an urgent Bill. It would restrict the Senate unnecessarily.


The PRESIDENT - Order! The point of order is not upheld.







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