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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1798


Senator WATSON(10.56) —Today and yesterday we have seen an incredible manipulation of the timetable by the Manager of Government Business in the Senate (Senator Gareth Evans) which has led to a great deal of confusion in this place and problems for the conduct of Estimates committees. The Manager of Government Business has taken the attitude that the Opposition does not count, that it does not have any rights in this place; and this was further emphasised at lunch time today when he refused to allow the General Business debate which normally takes place on Thursday.

Tonight we saw a continuation of the Government inappropriately trying to use the forms of this place. We had a disgraceful situation in which an answer given by a Minister was queried by this side of the House. An opportunity was given by means of interjection to correct that answer. The Minister sat there refusing to correct that answer, and yet she used the forms of this adjournment debate to make some sort of statement which a number us missed hearing. I believe that Ministers are abusing their rights and privileges in this place to the detriment of parliamentary democracy in Australia.