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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1638


Senator COLSTON —by leave-I move:

That the Standing Committee on Education and the Arts have leave to meet during the sitting of the Senate on Wednesday, 1 April 1987.

The Senate has referred to the Standing Committee on Education and the Arts a reference relating to the proposed amalgamation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service. Before it was known that we would be sitting tonight, the Committee scheduled for this evening a public hearing commencing at 7.30 p.m. to which we invited three distinguished people, the Minister for Communications (Mr Duffy), Mr Dix and Mr Justice Connor. The latter two have presented comprehensive reports on broadcasting to the Parliament. An inability to sit would further retard the Committee's consideration of the reference the Senate gave to it. I have consistently opposed the sitting of committees during the sittings of the Senate. I would like to mention that standing order 300 says:

. . . no Select Committee may sit during the sittings of the Senate.

Standing order 36aa, in part, says:

A Standing Committee shall not meet while the Senate is actually sitting, unless by special order of the Senate.

I move for the Senate Standing Committee on Education and the Arts to sit this day with reluctance, especially due to my consistent objections in the past. It is only because of the special circumstances in this case that I have so moved.