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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2389

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(11.02) —I move:

At end of motion, add:

'Provided that the President, upon a request or requests by an absolute majority of the whole number of Senators that the Senate meet at a certain time, shall fix a day and hour of meeting in accordance with such request or requests, and such time of meeting shall be notified to each Senator.

'For these purposes a request by the Leader or Deputy-Leader of the Opposition in the Senate shall be deemed to be a request by every Senator of the Opposition and a request by the Leader or Deputy-Leader of the Australia Democrats shall be deemed to be a request by every Australian Democrat Senator.

'Provided further that the request or requests may be made to the President by leaving the same with, or delivering the same to, the Clerk of the Senate, who shall immediately notify the President.

'In the event of the President being unavailable, the Clerk shall without delay notify the Deputy-President, or, should he be unavailable, any one of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees, who shall be deemed to be required by the Senate to summon the Senate on behalf of the President, in accordance with the terms of this Resolution'.

This amendment provides the opportunity for an absolute majority of senators to recall the Senate. It adds that arrangement in a form which has been accepted in this place as common for nearly 10 years. I should make it clear that the motion would not give any single Opposition group in the Senate the power to recall the Senate. An absolute majority could be obtained only by a combination of the official Opposition, that is the Liberal and National parties, and the Australian Democrats.

Senator Chipp —Or the Government and the Democrats.

Senator CHANEY —The Government has that power anyway under the motion. We are seeking to ensure that any grouping of senators who comprise an absolute majority would have that power. For the purpose of convenience, it provides that the Leader of the Opposition may speak on behalf of those senators who are part of the official Opposition; in the same way the Leader or the Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats can speak for members of the Australian Democrats. There is no need for any extensive debate on this matter.