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Thursday, 20 November 1986
Page: 2592

Senator MACKLIN(12.33) —I raise at this point a procedural matter, something that has concerned me on other occasions and which has occurred again. Two identical proposed amendments have been circulated in the chamber. I know it is something which is not covered by the Standing Orders and therefore it is a difficult item to deal with. It seems to me that at least one way of solving the matter, as a courtesy, possibly, to the senators who propose to move the amendments, is that the amendment which was circulated first in the chamber-if that is easily able to be determined-ought to be the first one to be called on.

The CHAIRMAN —In this case, as Senator Macklin says, there are two identical amendments. The Opposition has grouped its amendments under subject matter. I was proposing to call the Opposition to move its group of amendments together. In this case, that would necessitate calling the Opposition first. I take the point raised by Senator Macklin. I am not aware of the order in which the amendments were first circulated. Are you aware of that, Senator Macklin?

Senator MACKLIN —They were circulated a day apart. The amendments that the Australian Democrats propose to move were circulated in the chamber a day ahead of the Opposition's amendments. I am concerned about procedure. Indeed, who moves the amendments in terms of some of the issues, is important. That is a fairly obvious political point. If it is always to be assumed that the major parties, if they propose to move amendments which are identical to ones which we have already circulated, are to be called first, it seems to me that they will be able to pick up any amendments that they wish in the knowledge that they will be called on first as a matter of course.