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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1378

Senator HARRADINE(12.27) —I refer to the amendment that has been moved by Senator Sanders. What I shall say is not meant to be a reflection on him personally; far from it. I simply observe the irony of the situation in which Senator Sanders is able to be present in this chamber and to move an amendment which would have widespread ramifications for workers in the forestry industry in Tasmania. Senator Sanders's presence in this place relies on the fact that voters in the--

Senator Sanders —Mr Chairman, I raise a point of order. I ask you to take a look at the relevancy of Senator Harradine's contribution to the debate on the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN —I am watching it. Senator Harradine is entitled to put a preamble to his point, but it should be relevant.

Senator Sanders —Can he tell us what the meaning of life is?

Senator HARRADINE —I would be very happy to tell the honourable senator what the meaning of life is, but I think that may well be against the Standing Orders at present. I think it is relevant to note that it was the workers in the forestry industry who put Senator Sanders in this chamber. They did it unwittingly by virtue of the operations--

Senator Sanders —Are you saying that the Tasmanians are not with me?

Senator HARRADINE —I am saying that the Commonwealth electoral laws are just simply a farce when it comes to Senate voting; that is to say, as far as the ticket vote is concerned. As the honourable senator knows--

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The subject before the Chair is the change in the title of the Bill. I have accepted much debate on the broad scope of the Bill and the desirability of certain measures, but I think that a prolonged discussion of the Commonwealth Electoral Act is certainly out of order.

Senator HARRADINE —Mr Chairman, I assure you I am not going to engage in a long discussion. Let that come when the amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act come up. But I am surely entitled to go to the amendment moved by Senator Sanders and to say that the irony of that is that those people working in the forestry industry who put a number 1 in the box for the Australian Labor Party on the Senate ballot paper actually elected Senator Sanders unwittingly. I have spoken to a quite large number of those people. I have said to them: `How did you vote?'. They have said: `We put a number 1 in the Labor Party box on the ticket'. I said `Congratulations, you have elected Senator Sanders', because what happened was that the Labor Party Executive--

Senator Gietzelt —Mr Chairman, your ruling is being defied.

The CHAIRMAN —Yes. Senator Harradine, have you finished on that line?

Senator HARRADINE —Yes, Mr Chairman.