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Wednesday, 4 December 1974
Page: 3089

Senator GREENWOOD -My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I seek clarification on the role which the Federal Government is playing or is proposing to play in respect of the union ban on the construction of the power station at Newport in Victoria. Has the AttorneyGeneral noticed, since his answer to me on this subject last Thursday, renewed Press statements that his Department is examining the question at the instance of the groups who are sponsoring or supporting the ban? Will he make a statement to the Senate as to the part his Department is playing? Will he also, as the nation's AttorneyGeneral, forthrightly condemn the unconstitutional and improper means by which the authority of the Victorian Parliament and the Victorian Government is being undermined?

Senator MURPHY - I will consider whether it is appropriate to make a statement. The honourable senator suggests that unconstitutional, and we may assume, illegal action is being taken against the Victorian Government. He suggests that this is some usurpation of the Victorian Government's authority. If all of that is correct no doubt the Victorian Government is armed with the legal weapons to do something about it. If it is not so armed then it has a State Parliament which can pass laws which will enable it to do what it thinks fit. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and others opposite often criticise this Government for having a disposition to interfere unduly in what is regarded as the affairs of a State. It may well be that this is an occasion when the State of Victoria might be left to attend to its own problems.

Senator GREENWOOD - I ask a supplementary question of the Attorney-General. I ask, as I indicated in my previous question, what role is his Department playing in this? Are the Press statements as to a role by his Department correct or incorrect?

Senator MURPHY - I indicated that I would consider whether a formal statement should be made to the Senate in response to that very question from the honourable senator and I will do so.

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