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Thursday, 12 May 1994
Page: 747

Senator HARRADINE (12.36 p.m.) —I am just a little doubtful about this question of significance that has been raised. It is proposed that, where it is considered matters of significance are being dealt with in a particular chamber, the allocation of broadcast time could be to that chamber. That could be to the disadvantage of the other chamber which, under the normal rules, would be broadcast at that time.

  It is important to raise this matter now because it is acknowledged in this report that there could well be a situation whereby the interpretation given to the word `significant' would mean that the House of Representatives would be allocated broadcast time which would normally be—

Senator Coates —It is not the intention at all.

Senator HARRADINE —I may be misunderstanding the situation, but paragraph 2.15 indicates:

The Committee supports a change to the general principles to aim to achieve a relatively equal coverage overall.

This appears to me to mean—correct me if I am wrong—that time allocated to the Senate when the Senate is sitting will only be taken into account for the purposes of equalisation of the broadcasting time overall.

Senator Coates —But the previous principle involved the House of Representatives having twice as much time as the Senate.

Senator HARRADINE —I thank Senator Coates for that explanation. Unfortunately, I have only just obtained and focused on a copy of the report. No doubt it would have been available to me to peruse beforehand. I will have a further look at it before making any further comment.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.