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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2633

Senator MURPHY - I seek leave to respond to the honourable senator.

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted.

Senator MURPHY(New South WalesLeader of the Government in the Senate)- It is the intention of the Government that the Local Government Grants Bill 1974 be passed, if the Senate concurs, today. Senator Carrick asks for an undertaking by the Government. I find this a rather curious procedure.

Senator Webster - What is curious about it?

Senator MURPHY -One of the things that is curious is that the honourable senator asks that the Family Law Bill be postponed until after consideration of these other measures. The Senate yesterday was subjected to a performance by Opposition senators which did not advance the progress of legislation and which I do not think advanced their standing in the eyes of the people of Australia. However, they chose to behave in that way. The Government's decision is that the Family Law Bill should be dealt with and if the endeavours of some members of the Opposition to try to frustrate the progress of this measure are persevered with, at least the country will be told just what they are about.

I find this suggestion very curious after the Whip has assured me that he informed the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Withers) that we would seek to bring on the Local Government Grants Bill at 9 p.m. this evening in order that it could be disposed of. That, as I understand it, was acceptable to the Leader of the Opposition.

Senator Carrick - On the contrary.

Senator MURPHY - I am not speaking of what Senator Carrick may feel about the matter. He says that there ought to be 2 hours debate. The decision has been reached by the Government, and I think it is a proper decision in relation to the order of business, that we bring on the Local Government Grants Bill at 9 p.m. That will be the understanding. It will leave in the ordinary course of events an hour and a half of debate and if the Opposition or somebody else feels that there needs to be an extra half-hour at that stage the Senate could oppose the motion for the adjournment and continue the debate until 1 1 o'clock. It seems to me that this is a perfectly reasonable and proper ordering of the business of the Senate. I would ask those opposite not to persevere with some kind of endeavour to filibuster on other matters or protract the business of the Senate to prevent the Family Law Bill being dealt with. I suggest to honourable senators opposite that in this chamber we sometimes win and we sometimes lose. We have had the situation in regard to committees. When a decision has been carried to establish a committee, those who have fought against the system or the committee have co-operated in sitting on the committee.

If democracy is to work in here there must be a certain amount of co-operation and there must be an observance of the will of the Senate. The proposition was put not to deal with the Family Law Bill. That proposition was rejected by the Senate. I would ask those senators who did not agree with that decision nevertheless to observe the will of the Senate and not to engage in various forms of filibuster to prevent a measure being dealt with. My proposal is that it is understood that at 9 p.m. we would adjourn the Family Law Bill and deal with the Local Government Grants Bill. I hope for a speedy passage of that Bill through this chamber.

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