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Wednesday, 6 June 1984
Page: 2584

Senator BUTTON (Leader of the Government in the Senate) —by leave-On this matter of hours of sitting there are always 64 different views in the Senate and, of course, it is very difficult to bring them all together. I said in discussions with Senator Chaney and Senator Chipp, who in turn I believe would have discussed the matter with their respective parties, that as far as I was concerned the issue of sitting hours was negotiable at any time. What I was concerned to do was to give honourable senators some indication of the likely program for next week. Of course, the motion currently before the Senate states 'unless otherwise ordered' which leaves us room to change that program if the sorts of matters which Senator Chipp, Senator Harradine or others may wish to raise necessitate further consideration.

I should say that, looking at the program and the progress which has been made, it is quite likely that we may have to sit a fourth week. I advise honourable senators of that now in order that it may be considered in the context of consideration of hours of sitting next week. But I ask the Senate to adopt this motion which has been brought forward on a formal basis on the clear understanding that it is, in the terminology of the motion, 'unless otherwise ordered'. I hope I will have the opportunity to continue to discuss with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Chaney), the Leader of the Australian Democrats (Senator Chipp), Senator Harradine, and others in the course of the next few days any difficulties which might be encountered and how they might be alleviated. It is a difficult time for all honourable senators. We are mindful of that fact and I would like that opportunity to continue to discuss the arrangements.