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Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Page: 4605

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (09:41): The opposition have indicated to the government over a couple of days that we are very happy to facilitate the passage of legislation to address the issues raised by the High Court. I know the shadow Attorney-General has been in discussions with the Attorney-General about the form the legislation might take and also with other parties about any necessary amendments. We recognise that this is a matter which needs to be dealt with this week and that the opposition was prepared to give up its own time in the matters of public interest discussion to facilitate the debate. However, at no stage have we supported time management or a guillotine. As you know, Mr Deputy President, that is something we do take very seriously; we think that time management should be used only in exceptional circumstances. But this is significant legislation. It does deserve to be properly debated. The parliament does deserve the opportunity to have amendments properly considered, and all colleagues who wish to make a contribution to this debate should have the opportunity to do so. For its part, the opposition will be limiting the number of speakers that it puts forward, so as to make sure the matter does come to a vote this week, but at no stage have we indicated that we would support a guillotine or time management on this legislation—informal arrangements, yes; but no guillotine, no time management. We could not support a motion which contained an element of time management, but if the government were minded to remove that part of the motion we would be able to support a motion to have this legislation debated at 12:45 today. We have not indicated at any time that we would support time management.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Fifield, do you want to move an amendment in relation to the removal of the time management provision?

Senator FIFIELD: I move:

Omit paragraphs (b) and (c), substitute:

(b) consideration of matters of public interest shall not be called on and instead the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2012 shall be called on.