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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2149

Senator CHAMARETTE (10.21 a.m.) —I rise to raise an issue of concern. There is a term that has crept into this place—it has been referred to twice by Senator Panizza, today and yesterday—regarding the Democrats and the Greens `rolling over'. I would like Senator Panizza to clarify the meaning of that term. I want him immediately to deny any sexist overtones. When the Liberal Party votes with the Labor Party, as it often does, is it also rolling over? I believe this is a democracy. There are times when different groupings in this place vote together, and they are voting, hopefully, on the issue and in the cause of the best decision making for the Australian people.

  I support the extension of hours so that we can complete the business of this parliament. I would not have been willing to do that if it were not for the opposition. The opposition has presented the best argument I can think of to extend business hours because of the way its members behaved on Tuesday night, calling quorums every 15 minutes. I believe it is the mutual responsibility of the members of this Senate to review the legislation that has been provided to this place from the House of Representatives. We have all defended that at different times. I believe we are letting down our own parliamentary responsibilities by using it as a point-scoring exercise.

  We all know that the time was blown out last week because of a debate. We allowed the opposition to express its views fully. It consequently took quite a lot of time. We now have a request to proceed with the business so that we can finish it today and not have to come back tomorrow. From the Greens' point of view, we support any extension of time that enables us effectively and efficiently to review the legislation that comes to this chamber.