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Tuesday, 23 April 1985
Page: 1381

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition) —by leave-I move:

That the Senate take note of the statement.

The Opposition notes that the Government will require the Senate to sit four weeks in a row. I wish to make the point that the Government, having undertaken the two weeks on two weeks off sitting pattern, which has proved reasonably convenient to the Government, although it puts all of us under some pressure during parliamentary sittings, is now making a bit of a welter of it when it lifts us for 10 days and then takes us back for four weeks straight. I again express the view that I do not think it is in the interests of the health of even the Leader of the Government in the Senate that he should sit for four weeks continuously. I think it is an unwise sitting pattern and I simply remind the Senate of what you would remember well, Mr President, namely, the very great damage done to senators' health during the life of the Whitlam Government, when there were very heavy sitting and legislative programs. I believe it would be wise if the Government could plan the session ahead in future in a way that would preclude the need to sit for such great lengths of time. The Opposition will, of course, co-operate in these sittings, but I have a strong personal view that it is a very unwise way to conduct the Parliament.