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Thursday, 13 October 2011
Page: 7454

Senator McEWEN (South AustraliaGovernment Whip in the Senate) (19:44): Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I too would like to contribute to this debate on the report currently the subject of a motion moved—

Senator Colbeck: Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. There was a matter before the chair which had not been determined by you as the chair when you gave the call to Senator McEwen. That matter was subsequently dealt with. Senator McEwen could not have had the call when there was still a matter before the chair that you, as chair, had not finalised. You cannot say that Senator McEwen had the call because the matter before the chair was Senator Abetz's request for the motion that he had moved. You cannot give the call to Senator McEwen on the guise that she had the call before you dealt with that matter because you as chair had to deal with that matter before you could give anybody the call. The matter was essentially with Senator Abetz.

Senator Bob Brown: Mr Acting Deputy President, on a point of order: there are two matters here. Firstly, you were quite right in giving the call to Senator McEwen. We were dealing with the government responses to parliamentary committee reports and Senator Abetz tried to intervene on that with another matter. You quite rightly discounted his ability to do that, and that should have pertained.

I welcome the President of the Senate to the chair. That was a correct ruling. However, Senator Abetz persisted in wanting to seek leave, which should have waited. When leave was not given he sat down. You then rightly gave the call to the senator on your right. That ruling should remain.

The PRESIDENT: I have not been here for the situation, and I note the hour of the night, but I do understand that there is a question before the chair. The question before the chair is that the report be taken note of. That is the question that is before the chair at this stage.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! The question before the chair has to be disposed of. That is the first thing that must take place in the order of debate. The question must be disposed of, and the question before the chair is that the report be taken note of.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, I have not given you the call. Senator McEwen.

Senator McEWEN: Mr President—

Senator Ian Macdonald: Point of order, Mr President!

The PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald!

Senator McEWEN: Mr President, I have a point of order. My point of order is that I stood with the intention of taking note of the report listed at page 8 on today's Notice Paper. I made it quite clear that my intention was to contribute to the debate.

Debate interrupted.