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Wednesday, 23 October 2002
Page: 5737


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (3:47 PM) —as amended, by leave—I move the motion as amended:

That:

(1) On Monday, 11 November 2002:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 9.30 am to 6.30 pm, and 7.30 pm to 11.40 pm;

(b) the routine of business from 9.30 am to 2 pm and 7.30 pm to 11 pm shall be consideration of the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002 and the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002; and

(c) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 11 pm.

(2) On Tuesday, 12 November 2002:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 12.30 pm to 6.30 pm, and 7.30 pm to 11.40 pm;

(b) the routine of business from 12.30 pm to 2 pm, and 7.30 pm to 11 pm shall be consideration of the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002 and the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002; and

(c) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 11 pm.

(3) On Wednesday, 13 November 2002:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 9.30 am to 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 11.40 pm;

(b) the routine of business from 9.30 am to 12.45 pm, and 7.30 pm to 11 pm shall be consideration of the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002 and the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002; and

(c) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 11 pm.

(4) On Thursday, 14 November 2002:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 9.30 am to adjournment;

(b) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 8 pm; and

(c) standing order 54(5) shall apply as if it were Tuesday.

(5) The Senate shall sit on Friday, 15 November 2002 and that:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 9.30 am to 4.25 pm;

(b) the routine of business shall be government business only;

(c) the sitting of the Senate shall be suspended for 45 minutes from approximately 12.30 pm; and

(d) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 3.45 pm.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.


Senator IAN CAMPBELL —The motion which we are seeking to amend has been the subject of long consultation at meetings today between leaders of parties, Independents and the whips and in discussions around the chamber. In effect, it seeks to facilitate a heavy legislative program. We effectively have three and a bit weeks left to complete the legislative program and, of course, amongst the bills on the list are the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 and the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002. These are obviously bills which are well known in the community and in the parliament, in respect of which all senators will be exercising a conscience vote, and we know, through talking to whips and colleagues, that most senators will be involved, so there will be a long debate. The government is trying to ensure, through consultation with all senators and interested parties, that the debate enables all senators to contribute in an adequate and thorough manner.

The hours may be subject to alteration and I may have to get leave to do that later, as we are waiting for one party to come back on a small outstanding issue. However, the motion involves sitting at 9.30 on a Monday morning, which is unusual. That will allow the commencement of a second reading debate on the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 to commence on a Monday morning. That will allow senators who come in on Sunday night to commence the second reading debate. It certainly will not mean that other senators need to get here on the Monday morning. I will be seeking to ensure that, as far as possible, the second reading debates are done on a no divisions and no quorums basis. That will need a good amount of goodwill, which I think has been evident already in negotiations on how to handle these bills. The Senate will then sit until 11 p.m. on the Monday night. We will resume again at 12.30 on the Tuesday, which is an hour and a half earlier than normal, and again sit late on Tuesday night until 11 o'clock.

On Wednesday we will commence sitting at 9.30 and go, with normal breaks and so forth, until 11 o'clock at night. On the Thursday we will sit at the normal time and the debate on those bills will stop at 12.45 p.m., which is the normal time for what is known as non-controversial legislation. The bills I have referred to will not be considered again that week. That, Mr Deputy President, as you know personally, is to ensure that the greatest number of senators possible will be able to be here for votes on the committee stage of the Research Involving Embryos Bill. A number of senators are travelling on overseas delegations and ministerial delegations at that time, and we obviously want to facilitate as many people as possible.

The Senate will sit on the Friday to consider other government business, to make up for time we would have otherwise lost. It will sit from 9.30 a.m. to 3.45 p.m., which, as far as sitting on a Friday is normal, is a normal schedule for Friday. As for votes on any remaining stages, it may be possible that the bills are finished by lunchtime on Thursday. I certainly hope they are but if they are not the votes will be held over to 2 December. We have checked with the whips and we think there may only be one or two people from the entire Senate not here on that day, which is highly unusual. The government hope that perhaps with a late sitting on the Monday, if that legislation is still under consideration, we will be able to complete those bills on the Monday night. It may not be possible; it is very hard to tell at this stage. That lengthy explanation explains amended government business motion No. 1 in relation to those sitting hours.

Question, as amended, agreed to.