Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 550

Senator WALTERS(9.58) —I find hearing Senator Grimes trying to be reasonable for once a bit hard to take. Really it is asking a bit much.

Senator MacGibbon —It is a cultural shock.

Senator WALTERS —It is a cultural shock, yes. I am used to him abusing us.

Senator Macklin —What are you going to do when he has gone?

Senator WALTERS —I have no idea. I am sure that Senator Grimes will remember a few of our colourful colleagues, Senator Cavanagh and Senator Wright who, indeed, used to speak for half an hour--

Senator Grimes —An hour.

Senator WALTERS —In our day, an hour. They did speak for an hour. Reg Wright used to get out from his place and wander around. I would not give up the opportunity of seeing someone else as colourful come into this place and would not deny him the right to speak for at least half an hour. If I had the opportunity, I would allow them to speak for an hour. I will even put up with garrulous Gareth. I will even put with Senator Evans, who, as I have said before--

Senator Button —I rise on a point of order: The back bench senator described Senator Evans as `garrulous Gareth'. We cannot have that. That is not respectful to a member of the chamber, a Minister of this House.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! I think `garrulous' would be a reflection on Senator Gareth Evans and that you should withdraw.

Senator WALTERS —I will withdraw, Mr Chairman, and say that he is intoxicated by his own verbosity, which is often what the Minister is.

Senator Button —Senator Evans would object more to the familiarity of being called `Gareth' rather than `Senator Evans'.

The CHAIRMAN —Senator Walters, you should address Senator Evans either by his title as a Minister or by `Senator Evans', not by his first name.

Senator WALTERS —The point is made, Mr Chairman. I am very willing to listen to Senator Evans as he goes on and on in his verbose way. I have never heard the Minister speak in the Committee stage for less than quarter of an hour. Tonight he stood up and said that he did not want to add to the debate on the defence statement and would speak for only a couple of minutes, but he spoke for 10 minutes. I feel that we should not limit him, and I would be opposed to limiting anyone else in this chamber.

As Senator Grimes said, we used to be able to speak for an hour. Some of the speeches made by Senator Cavanagh and Senator Wright were gems. This place is the worse for the fact that such speeches are no longer made. The proposal is no great asset. The Standing Orders Committee, under the Government, is all too willing to cut back the time of anyone who wants to speak in the Senate. It is particularly anxious to cut the adjournment debate right out. It does not like notices of motion much either. It wants us to hand all these over to the Clerks. Does it want us to write out a few speeches for the Clerks to make on our behalf? That is what the Government is getting to. It is ridiculous to say that we should no longer speak, off air, for more than 30 minutes when we are debating a detailed Bill and wish to make certain points. Indeed, many senators would need the full time to do so, if they were to do so competently.

Senator Macklin mentioned the reduction of the 15-minute limit to 10 minutes. Let us not kid ourselves; it will not save time. If we speak for 10 minutes and we obviously want more time, one of our colleagues will get up and say `It's a nice day' so we can continue speaking for a further 10 minutes. It will not save time, so why go into all this stupidity of trying to cut down the speech times without any hope at all of saving time in the long run? As for notices of motion-

The CHAIRMAN —Order! We are not dealing with that at the moment. We are dealing only with the length of speeches.

Senator WALTERS —Mr Chairman, I am happy to leave my remarks there and speak later on the question of notices of motion.