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Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Page: 254


Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (3:34 PM) —by leave—I thank the opposition for their forbearance in relation to the changes that have been contained within the motion I will shortly move. Senator Fifield is correct when he identifies issues that have arisen. I noticed those issues myself, particularly around Human Services when I had portfolio responsibility for it. It was there because of the administrative orders, and they do tend to follow. I think you correctly identify an issue which chairs should and, I am confident, will take cognisance of where regional issues might straddle two committees—that they do not become a ping-pong event, that the committee can rightfully and clearly articulate the areas in which they can usefully assist the senators who have questions in relation to that area and refer them appropriately to another committee where those questions can be put and properly answered and not referred back, as I have heard of on very rare occasions. I will seek to ensure committee chairs are at least aware of the short address we have had today in respect of this issue.

In conclusion I thank Senator Fifield for his assistance in being able to ensure that Senate estimates proceed in an orderly way which allows senators to ask questions and get appropriate early-response answers and not take it on notice because they may have missed the particular committee because of the way the scheduling sometimes occurs. I move:

(1)   That the 2010-11 supplementary Budget estimates hearings be scheduled as follows:

Monday, 18 October and Tuesday, 19 October 2010 (supplementary hearings—Group A)

Wednesday, 20 October and Thursday, 21 October 2010 (supplementary hearings—Group B).

Environment and Communications

Finance and Public Administration

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

Community Affairs

Economics

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Rural Affairs and Transport.

Question agreed to.