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Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Page: 4606


Senator CHRIS EVANS (Western AustraliaMinister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (09:44): I appreciate that people have given a broad commitment to dealing with the bill today. The reason the government have sought time management, as explained by Senator Collins, is that we have an absolute necessity, in terms of the payments being made, to get to this bill today in order not to prevent the capacity for those payments to be made, given the end of the financial year.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

Senator CHRIS EVANS: Senator, I just make the point that I appreciate that in discussions with the opposition they have been prepared to support the bill. It was put to the—

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

Senator CHRIS EVANS: The proposition—

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

Senator CHRIS EVANS: Senator Macdonald, have you had your go?

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

Senator CHRIS EVANS: No, you ought to belt up and let me give my—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Evans; through the chair please—and order, Senator Macdonald; do not interject.

Senator CHRIS EVANS: I appreciate it, because if you stop him running the commentary I am happy to—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I have asked both of you to adhere to the procedures.

Senator CHRIS EVANS: Thank you. The point—

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Macdonald! You have the call, Senator Evans.

Senator CHRIS EVANS: Thank you. I am not sure that Senator Macdonald was party to the conversation I am referring to, but I have asked the opposition and we did talk about how we might manage it. It is true that the opposition have always made it clear that they are not going to support a guillotine, but it was also made clear that we were looking to time manage the debate in order to get the bill today, because in the normal course of events it is possible that we may not get the bill today. We have very little time available for that purpose, so the approach has been about trying to manage that process.

Senator Ian Macdonald: We've got tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday.

Senator Chris Evans: Mr Deputy President, it is not possible to have this bill passed on Saturday or Sunday and meet the deadline, which the opposition recognises. The point I want to make is that if the view of the Senate is that we do not have support for the time management, with the Greens and the opposition indicating that they will not agree to that, I accept that that is the will of the Senate.

Senator Ian Macdonald: The Greens have agreed to every other time management—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Macdonald! You have the call, Senator Evans.

Senator CHRIS EVANS: Mr Deputy President, I am happy to deal with him or you can deal with him, but I will deal with him—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I am dealing with the matter, Senator Evans. You have the call.

Senator CHRIS EVANS: Thank you, Mr Deputy President. If a senator wants to continually talk over the top, it is very hard for me to not deal with him myself, so one of us needs to deal with him.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: You have the call, Senator Evans.

Senator CHRIS EVANS: Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I try and deal with the Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate because they allegedly are able to control the way that their party operates in the Senate—something that is starting to be questioned. But I appreciate the goodwill from the opposition. They are trying to deal with this issue. I just make the point, without delaying the Senate any further, that the government has made the argument and we continue to make the argument that we need this bill carried today in order to have those payments met and the normal processes of government continue and for organisations to administer those funds. I just want to make the point that, if there is no agreement to time management this morning, we run the risk of the bill not being carried tonight—in the absence of management—because the time allotted for government time late this evening is very short. I just urge the Senate—

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Macdonald!

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Collins! Senator Evans has the call.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Ignore the interjections, Senator Evans. Have you concluded your remarks?

Senator CHRIS EVANS: No. I am waiting for you to bring order, Senator.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Evans, I have brought order to the chamber. Interjections are disorderly. Senators know this, and I suggest you ignore the interjections. You have the call.

Senator CHRIS EVANS: I will try and ignore them, Mr Deputy President. I appreciate your keeping control of the Senate in that regard. I am just trying to make the point that we need the bill today. In the absence of a time management resolution, I am relying on the goodwill of the Senate, all of the Senate, to do that, and that means we have to have an understanding about the use of the time available. If people are not prepared to vote for a time management solution, we need to informally have an understanding about that. That does not have to be on the record. I am just making the point that otherwise we may well find that some of the people who seem not to be under any discipline in this place may talk and may prevent us bringing that matter to a conclusion tonight. That is the only point I want to make. If the view of the Senate is that the attempt by Senator Collins to have that time management included in the resolution will not be supported—and I think Senator Fifield's amendment will be supported, given what I caught of Senator Milne's contribution as I came into the chamber—I accept that that is the view of the Senate, but I do make the point that we will need the full cooperation of the Senate if we are not to find ourselves in the position where we run out of time. I just make that point very strongly because, in the absence of a time management mechanism, that is not always possible. Some senators, including the one who continually interjects now, are famous for not meeting the broader agreements that are reached around this place.