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Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Page: 4742

Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (17:58): Obviously much of what Senator Parry has just presented is sensible and will contribute to the more efficient running of the chamber, but there is one matter that I do want to draw the chamber's attention to, effectively by way of a dissent to the procedures report that has just been tabled. In March of this year one of the recommendations of the 150th report of Privileges Committee, of which I am a member, proposed to the Procedures Committee to examine the ambiguity—in my view the quite dangerous ambiguity that has opened up—in the issue of the way that matters are referred from this chamber via the President through the chamber to the Privileges Committee. Quite a dangerous situation has opened up here in that the role of the President in referring these matters or assigning precedence to these matters has become quite ambiguous. The role of the chamber in ascertaining whether these matters go to the committee has become somewhat ambiguous, and I think it is a great shame that the Procedures Committee passed up the opportunity and the direct referral from Privileges to take a look at those matters, to take its time and to ensure that we do not see a repeat of what occurred last year in November.

I do not believe necessarily that it is appropriate to simply sit back and say, 'No, the situation is fine; it's not broken; it doesn't need fixing,' after the events that occurred. I would simply like to note that there are some differences of views here. I do not propose to go through and argue them here now, but I think this is a matter that we at some stage will need to return to. I thank the chamber.

Question agreed to.