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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1313

Senator MURPHY - Mr President, may I put my question to the Minister again? I did not ask him that question. I asked him whether, instead of leaving the Senate in doubt on the legal responsibility of the South Australian Premier, about which he suggested he had a belief, he could settle the matter by producing to the Senate at the earliest opportunity some opinion by the Commonwealth legal authorities, or such authority as he has available to him, to establish the basis for any belief that the approval of the Premier of South Australia is required? I am not asking him for criticism one way or the other, but merely the basis of the belief. What is the proper constitutional and legal position as understood by the Commonwealth?

Senator COTTON - I thought it was implicit in my reply to Senator McManus that that is what I would be seeking to do. Senator Murphy may be sure of that, and I do not think he should be upset in any sense. That is what I would be seeking to do. In this area there is some reasonable room for a variety of views. The required reading on this matter for those who have the time would be the chapters of the Senate Select Committee's report on tha interstate trade reference. It was a remarkable job, and I think that when honourable senators read that they will come out with an understanding that there is some area here calling for definition. I would certainly have regarded myself as having been prepared to take up the matter and I indicated a willingness to do so.

The PRESIDENT - Order! I remind honourable senators that they have been asking questions for an hour and 20 minutes, and if the Senate is agreeable and in a mood to concede, I suggest that the next question be the last question.

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