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Monday, 10 October 1994
Page: 1346

Senator MARGETTS —I seek leave to have the report entitled The implications of Australian defence exports recommitted for debate.

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Calvert)—Do you wish to speak to the report by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade?

Senator MARGETTS —Yes. We were advised that Senator Loosley may or may not have been in the chamber. Because he was not in the chamber it meant that the debate, which at least three of us wanted to speak on—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Foreman presented the report on behalf of Senator Loosley. The best thing is for you to seek leave to recommit the item.

Senator MARGETTS —I have just done so.

Senator Panizza —Before we grant leave, can I have an indication of how long they want to talk, because this is an unusual request coming from the Greens.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Evidently there is some interest from Senator Harradine, the Democrats and the Greens; is that correct?

Senator Bourne —Yes. I want to make this a bit clearer. We understood earlier today that this debate would go on at a later time or day when Senator Loosley was back. If we can seek leave to continue remarks on the matter, then it can be put back onto the Notice Paper.

Senator Jones —Mr Acting Deputy President—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Margetts, seeing that you were the one who raised the matter—

Senator Panizza —Could I hear what the government whip was going to say?

Senator Jones —At the whips' meeting this morning there was a discussion on the report by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and there were some problems because Senator Loosley, as chairman, would not be able to bring down the report because he would be away. That was the reason that Senator Foreman brought the report down. We thought there would be two speakers in the chamber and, because the two speakers were not here, Senator Foreman moved to take note of the report and that was agreed to. As a result of our agreement this morning it would have been reasonable enough to say that we could have sought leave to continue our remarks and then allowed the two speakers to speak. That was the understanding this morning.

Senator Panizza —I think we have something to sort out here because the agreement at the whips meeting this morning—tell me whether I am wrong—was that the matter would be taken off the red. Is that correct?

Senator Jones —No.

Senator Panizza —That was my understanding. All of a sudden it has been brought down.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The simple answer to this is for Senator Margetts to seek leave to continue her remarks on that particular report and the matter will come up on Thursday.

Senator MARGETTS —Mr Acting Deputy President, on a point of clarification, does that still give us the same speaking allowance of half an hour per speaker that we would get in normal circumstances?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —It will be down to 10 minutes.

Senator MARGETTS —Again on a point of clarification: the agreement at the whips' meeting this morning was that the item would be taken off the red because Senator Loosley was not around. The item was put back on the red, presumably because Senator Loosley was around. I find it unfair for both the government and the opposition at this stage to say that the most we can be given is 10 minutes on Thursday, considering that the agreement was to take the item off the Notice Paper because Senator Loosley wanted to be here for the presentation of the report so that it could be properly debated.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The best thing we can do, Senator Margetts, is leave that matter until the whips have come to some agreement. They can then bring forward a motion to bring it back on or to discuss the matter, as seems to have been agreed this morning.