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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2086

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Prowse -No. Senator Wrightraised the question in relation to clause 5 only at the outset.

Senator MURPHY -I ask Senator Wright to consider what I have said. I did not raise the matter concerning each House with him because it did not occur to me until a few moments ago.

This is what troubles me. All I can say is that we are all trying to achieve a result. I am quite troubled that irrespective of the assistance that has been given there may be some matters which occur to others. I think that it is fair that the Senate ought to be given all the assistance it can be given to make sure that we do not do something that we regret. This is a sphere in which as a House of Parliament we must be very cautious in our dealings. Once such a Bill is passed and becomes an Act it will be construed in the way that it reads and it will not be a matter of what we thought we were doing here. For example, suppose that someone said: 'Here is what the Parliament has said. It has used the expression 'of the Parliament'. There is no reference there to the privileges pertaining to each House of the Parliament as distinct from those of the Parliament as a whole or of committees of the Parliament. Does not that mean that an argument could be advanced that the Parliament deliberately said that the privileges were not extended there? There is no suggestion about privileges attaching to committees extending outside those grounds'. Such an argument may be rejected, but one could imagine it being advanced and being upheld. That troubles me. I suggest again to Senator Wright that the opportunity should be given for some further consideration of clauses 5 and 6 in order to get them into a form which we could all accept without any reservation and without having any objection to the clauses. I would ask the honourable senator to agree that we report progress in order that some consideration may be given to the form of these clauses for a few days at least.

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