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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2414

Senator PATTERSON (11.55 a.m.) —Let me put on the public record that I have not said and nor do I imply that any senator does not have the right to come in here, put any amendment and debate it at length in the committee of the whole stage. But I do not deny the right that I have to point out, on the public record, that the bill has been before a committee and that there was an opportunity to have detailed discussion and to call witnesses. That does not imply that it cannot be looked at again here in detail. To assert that I am saying that is outrageous.

  But what I wanted to put on the public record yesterday afternoon was that the bill had been to a committee and there had been ample opportunity. I understand, especially for independents, that people cannot be at those committee meetings, that they do not have rights. I am not a member of those committees, but I go along to and ask questions at many of them because of my interest. But it seems to me that it facilitates the process if people ask about issues of fact, which was happening yesterday. They were asking for details about the numbers of women in the 55-year age group, I think it was, and how many of them would be likely to go onto a pension. Those sorts of factual details can be obtained on notice at those committee meetings if we cannot attend. If that cannot be done, I suppose, it is necessary for us to come in here. But there are other avenues and they were not used.

  But, even though there are those other avenues, a person is not denied the right to come in here, and I did not imply that. I think it is outrageous for Senator Harradine to say that I implied that. All I was doing was putting on the record that we had had an opportunity to examine it which had not been taken up by everybody, and there may have been reasons for that. But we were sometimes going over the same ground that had been gone over in that committee.