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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2399

Senator COLEMAN —by leave-The Senate will be aware that last night I was in the chair at the time of the incident to which Senator Vigor refers. I also rose from my place here this morning to draw the Acting Deputy President's attention to the fact that Senator Vigor was at that time reading his speech. We do have standing order 406, which precludes any senator from reading his or her speech. I would not rise if simply copious notes were being used. But last night Senator Vigor had more than copious notes. Every single word was being read out. We were being subjected to a 30-minute barrage of words that had been written by somebody else.

Senator Newman —I take a point of order, Mr President. This morning I was sitting in the chamber when Senator Coleman raised the matter that she just spoke of. As I recall it, pretty clearly, the ruling from the Chair was that Senator Vigor was not in fact reading, but was referring to copious notes.

The PRESIDENT —There is no point of order, but I remind Senator Coleman that Senator Vigor was dealing with a matter that occurred last night.

Senator COLEMAN —Thank you, Mr President. I was also referring to what happened last night, and I will continue to refer to it. I raised at that time the fact that Senator Vigor has the right to make a submission to a committee of the Senate if he objects to standing order 406 and wants some change made. But I will continue to rise every time Senator Vigor or anyone else reads a speech. I will rise and draw it to the attention of the person in the chair.

Senator Walters —What about Ministers?

Senator COLEMAN —Senator Walters, for goodness sake, surely Ministers are entitled to read second reading speeches.

Senator Walters —Not according to the Standing Orders.

Senator COLEMAN —For goodness sake, Senator Walters really is giving me a pain. While standing order 406 remains in the Standing Orders book, when an honourable senator is reading his speech I shall continue to rise and draw the attention of the Chair to that fact.

The PRESIDENT —The matter of standing order 406 has been before the Standing Orders Committee. The Senate has not dealt with it, so it is still before the Senate. It is a matter with which we should deal, preferably in the near future.