Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 11 May 1994
Page: 654

Senator CAMPBELL (4.29 p.m.) —I want to put a few things on the record. During the last year and a half we have seen a number of provisions come in to limit the speaking times of senators. They have all been agreed to by the Australian Democrats and the Independents.

Senator Kernot —By a majority of the Senate.

Senator CAMPBELL —I thoroughly respect that. One of the provisions that comes to mind is the reduction in second reading speaking times from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. I recall that, during the native title debate, again a very important debate for this chamber for all concerned—

Senator Schacht —It went for 10 days.

Senator CAMPBELL —It was not 10 days; it was five days.

Senator Kernot —The longest time ever.

Senator CAMPBELL —It was. One of the problems we had was that all of the senators who were at the beginning of the speakers list spoke for 10, 15 and 20 minutes, and many of us would have liked to have spoken for longer than that. As I remember, when Senator Chamarette spoke she could not get through what she wanted in 20 minutes and asked for an extension. Of course, the chamber graciously allowed her leave to do it. We have a very similar principle here. We now have tight restrictions on a number of the speaking times, including the speaking times on the adjournment, which I found out on Monday night, Mr Acting Deputy President, while you were in the chair, had been cut down to 10 minutes on Monday night as of 3 May.

  What we are saying is that, with these tight limits, there should have been a little courtesy and good faith to allow Senator Crane three, four or five minutes to get through his speech and get it out of the way so that we could get onto documents and the rest of business. That way he would not have to wait in his office until after documents are dealt with and then rush back into the chamber to finish his speech. Why not have a little good faith and allow Senator Crane to get his speech out of the way so that we can then go on to the next business? That is all we are talking about.

Senator Kernot —You are never sure that is the end of it.

Senator CAMPBELL —You are, generally. We allow the Democrats leave to do things when good faith is required. No good faith was shown here. Senator Schacht has effectively shown that, if a little bit of good faith had been used by him, Senator Crane could have spoken for three or four minutes on the motion to take note and we would have all been off doing other work during the afternoon and we would have been halfway through the next item of business. That good faith was not shown. Senator Schacht now knows the consequences of that. I hope quite genuinely that good faith will be shown in the future.

  Question resolved in the negative.