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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1638

Senator COLSTON(5.43) —in reply-I must respond to some of the remarks. When I was moving this motion I outlined that I did so with extreme reluctance. I said that I had been consistent in the past in opposing the sittings of committees during the sittings of the Senate. I still do not think that that should occur. But before the Committee was aware that apparently the Senate would sit through to- night, we had made arrangements for the Minister for Communications, Mr Dix and Mr Connor to come before the Committee. It might be remembered that people on this side of the chamber did not want to have this reference before the Committee. It was a vote of the Senate which was carried by two that this reference be given to the Senate to inquire into the proposed merger of the ABC and SBS.

Now that the Committee I chair has that proposal before it, we have a responsibility to present a report so that the chamber can then decide where it wants to go from there. Normally this Committee would not even consider making arrangements when the Senate was sitting. The arrangements were made before it was announced that the Senate was sitting. If the Senate wants to object to the motion and vote against it, I do not mind. It just means that the reference that was given to us will be delayed even more.

Question resolved in the affirmative.