• Short Summary

    The Australian Parliament, sitting for the first time as a 0single legislature, approved laws this week that earlier were rejected by the (Upper House) Senate.

  • Description

    The Australian Parliament, sitting for the first time as a 0single legislature, approved laws this week that earlier were rejected by the (Upper House) Senate.

    The Prime Minister, Mr. Gough Whitlam, decided to call a joint sitting after the recent election when he still did not command a majority in the Senate. Action to institute this unprecedented debate on vital bills was the subject of a High Court contest by Opposition members and the Queensland Stage Government. However, the High Court ruled that the sitting was Constitutional.

    The Joint Sitting is being televised live throughout Australia. So far, new laws have been approved for a massive redistribution of electoral boundaries. Other bills scheduled for debate concern National Health, National Insurance, Off Shore oil rights and Industrial legislation -- all of which have been rejected by the Senate. Mr. Whitlam accused the Opposition in the Senate of exceeding the mandate of that house, which is constituted as a House of Review and a guardian of State rights.

    Mr. Whitlam said that the Opposition tactics in the Senate-- obstruction of Bills on which the Government was elected -- was an attack on Australian democracy. He said the electoral bill was designed to enshrine the rule of one vote, one value in Australia.

    Opposition Leader, Billy Snedden, said many people would see the joint sitting as an anti climax, because it was not dealing with the great issues of the day. He accused the government of wanting the legislation passed so that it could carry out a gerrymander designed to keep it in office with less than 50 percent of the vote.

    Senator Steele Hall, Liberal Reform from South Australia, attacked the Opposition Coalition -- Liberal and Country parties for their obstruction to what he termed "an extension of the people's mandate." Senator Hall introduced legislation for new boundaries when he was Premier of South Australia.

    The Leader of the Country Party, Mr. Anthony, told the joint sitting that people must have become highly suspicions of the government which had become preoccupied with electoral matters.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA50W247XBBCGN4JYAEJO63ICEF
    Media URN:
    VLVA50W247XBBCGN4JYAEJO63ICEF
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    06/08/1974
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:05:46:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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