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Friday, 24 August 1984
Page: 349


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(11.26) —My understanding would be that the appropriate motion would be to delete the word 'forthwith' from the motion presently before the Senate and to substitute accordingly, for example, ' after a period of four days' or five days, 12 days or whatever it is that the honourable senator has in mind. Technically that is possible but I would hope that it is not a course that the Senate adopts because in this instance I think we have all had an amply sufficient notice of the impending passage of these Bills and that we ought to respond accordingly.


Senator Harradine —Mr President, I raise a point of order. It is my point that we have two standing orders to consider. The first, standing order 242, deals with a requirement of the call of the Senate. It states:

Before the Third Reading of any Bill by which an alteration of the Constitution is proposed there shall be a Call of the Senate. If the Third Reading of any such Bill shall not have been carried by an absolute majority of the Senate--

That standing order states that there shall be a call of the Senate. I think that Senator Evans on Tuesday attempted to move the suspension of Standing Orders to ensure that there would not be a call of the Senate. That motion having been defeated there must be a call of the Senate. What he is proposing now is to suspend standing order 283 which states:

An Order for a call of the Senate shall be made for any day not earlier than twenty-one days from the day on which such an order shall have been made.

What the Attorney here is saying is that that ought to be made forthwith. In my view that is a matter which needs to be defeated before any further motion and before a subsequent motion is made stipulating a date not earlier than 21 days. I believe that it cannot be done by way of amendment to this motion. This motion is seeking to suspend the standing orders which require that the Call of the Senate take place not earlier than 21 days. In my view it would be inappropriate to have this as the vehicle to be amended to make the positive determination as to when it takes place.


Senator Walters —Mr President, I speak on the point of order. I think it would be far easier for us all if we had the separate motions Senator Evans should be putting before us. We have nothing in writing. That does make it difficult. I think it would be sensible if he--


Senator Gareth Evans —They are on the Notice Paper.


Senator Walters —We normally have notice of motions put before us. It would make it a lot easier.


The PRESIDENT —I rule that the motion moved by the Attorney-General is in order. If anyone wished to amend the proposal moved by the Attorney-General by suggesting some time other than 'forthwith', he or she could do it by nominating a period between 'forthwith' and 21 days, as stipulated in standing order 283. Therefore, I rule the motion in order.