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Monday, 25 March 1985
Page: 714

Senator GRIMES (Manager of Government Business)(4.04) —I wish to speak to the motion.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —This would be much more appropriately left to the end of the debate.

Senator GRIMES —I would have thought so and I would have thought it would be better manners to do so, but as the motion has been moved I believe I have the right to speak.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —You have the right to speak.

Senator GRIMES —Senator MacGibbon, in ignorance of the Standing Orders, demanded that Senator Reynolds table what he described as copious notes; then, when he found he was unsuccessful, he undertook, on his own behalf, to move that the Senate demand that Senator Reynolds table her copious notes. I remind honourable senators of the situation we are left in. It means, of course, that honourable senators on this side of the House, and, I dare say, Australian Democrats senators at least, will have to think about what they will do in the future when so many Opposition senators read a speech or use copious notes. I should have thought that it would be a considerable embarrassment to those who read speeches which they obviously have not written themselves, but that is up to them to judge.

The conduct of this place will not be enhanced by such a motion, and I urge members of the Opposition to think seriously whether they want to carry through such a motion because quite clearly if it happens from one side of the House it will repeatedly happen from the other side of the House. I urge all honourable senators while I am speaking to seriously consider what they are doing. Senator Reynolds was quoting carefully researched material in a carefully researched speech. The facts were undeniable and members of the Opposition did not like it. In an attempt to silence her, phoney points of order were taken, one about reading a speech and another rather rude and ill-conceived one about Senator Reynolds allegedly not sitting down when Senator MacGibbon got to his feet, which is typical of the arrogance demonstrated by Senator MacGibbon in this place. We will oppose this motion and we will oppose similar motions; but, of course, if motions such as this are moved and passed on one side of the House, they will be moved repeatedly and passed by the other side of the House. From my experience of some of those sitting opposite, I suggest that more honourable senators on that side will be embarrassed than on this side.

Senator MacGibbon —I seek the direction of the Chair.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator MacGibbon, you have no right of reply.

Senator Messner —I think that Senator MacGibbon has the right to seek leave to make a statement.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —He has. There is a motion before the Chair that should be disposed of first, unless he wishes to pursue the matter.

Question resolved in the negative.