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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1638


Senator GEORGES(5.41) —At this stage I would like to remind the Senate that, on a number of occasions when the Joint Committee of Public Accounts sought leave to sit, it met with resistance from the Opposition and from people such as Senator Colston. I hope that there has been a change of mind on the part of those who have previously resisted Senate committees meeting on important occasions. If that change of mind had taken place, it would not have been necessary for the Public Accounts Committee to bring down a report on the matter to have it discussed; and I believe it might be discussed later. But it is impossible for the committees of this Senate to carry out their functions under the present circumstances.

Today leave has been sought by members of two committees. One was Senator Colston, as Chairman of the Committee he has referred to. The other one, strangely enough, was another strong opponent of the sitting of the Public Accounts Committee during the sittings of the Senate, Senator Walters. She brought forward a motion today to allow her Committee to sit tonight. I merely ask the Senate to take up this matter seriously and either to change the sitting times or, when the times of sittings are changed, to have in mind what happens to the committees of the Senate whose work is as important as the work of the Committee of the Whole.