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Wednesday, 5 March 1997
Page: 1977


Mr SPEAKER —I thank the Leader of the House and all those who have participated in this unexpectedly long debate this morning. I thank you all for your contributions. Much of what has been covered will become clearer subsequent to 18 March. But be aware that the deliberations have been ongoing now for seven or eight months; it is not driven by the ERC.

Shortly after we—that is, the President and I—took up our appointments on our election subsequent to the election last year, it became imperative that the basic organisation of the parliament needed to be reviewed. That has been an ongoing process. It has been deliberated on from within the parliament and without the parliament, and we have certainly taken cognisance of what has happened in the parliaments of Great Britain, Canada and New Zealand, among others.

So this is, as acknowledged I think by the member for Cunningham and the member for Watson, perhaps the first shot in what will be an ongoing process. As further information comes to hand, there will be ample opportunity for consultation, not only amongst the members and senators themselves, but at all levels of the parliament. I thank you for your contributions.