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Thursday, 21 November 1974
Page: 2638


Senator BAUME (New South Wales) - I do not intend to vote for the amendment proposed by Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson but I was brought into this debate by the words used by Senator James McClelland. I do not think there is anything to be gained today by introducing too much emotionalism into the debate or by becoming unduly provocative. The Festival of Light has concerned itself with the Bill. It has tried to become involved, to learn something about the Bill, to take an attitude and to contribute something, even if all honourable senators do not happen to agree with the point of view which the organisation expresses. I have had discussions with representatives of the Festival of Light and in those discussions I have found them most reasonable, most positive and most level headed. They started from a premise with which I did not necessarily agree. They reached conclusions with which I did not necessarily agree. But they were intellectually honest throughout. They were concerned with family life. They were concerned with a good divorce Bill. I think that it achieves nothing to refer to them as the 'Festival of Darkness'. I found the words offensive and I found the description as applied to this organisation offensive. It will not help the debate if this unnecessary and pejorative language creeps in.

I heard some talk earlier about a filibuster. From my point of view I have an amendment which I want to move at a certain stage. It is my intention as far as possible to stay out of the Committee discussion up to that stage, at which time I intend to discuss as fully as I can that amendment, what it might mean and what the Committee might do. But I will find it easier to stay out of the discussion if a reasonable tone is adopted by those who take part in the debate.

Senator Sir KENNETHANDERSON (New South Wales) (12.20)-! feel obliged to refer to some of the comments that have been made by Senator Missen and Senator James McClelland. There has been a suggestion that this amendment is based on a cynical attitude, to use Senator Missen 's words. I might say to him as a new senator in this place that if that is to be the pattern of his speeches he has a hell of a lot to learn before very long. In relation to Senator James McClelland 's attitude and his reference to the Festival of Light, this was a very poor exhibition by no less a person than the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. I point out to Senator James McClelland as the Chairman of that Committee that it purported to put its blessing upon this Bill. It took evidence from only 7 people on this Bill as printed, not as it may ultimately be if the amendments are accepted. We are dealing with clause 1, not the circulated amendments which may or may not be adopted. I regret to have to say this to the Chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee but I repeat that this Committee took evidence only in relation to this Bill.


Senator Missen - Not true.


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - It had 3 meetings in relation to this.


Senator Missen - Not true.


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - It is true. There were 7 witnesses amongst whom was the Attorney-General himself, a Mr Watson as a consultant and Mr Yuill from the AttorneyGeneral's Department. If Senator Missen wants to set a pattern for this debate there are people here who will accommodate him. I have expressed a point of view. I am prepared to put it briefly and anything that I say will be brief. I suggest that we have a vote on this so we can dispose of the clause very quickly.







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