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Wednesday, 8 June 1994
Page: 1455

Senator VANSTONE (10.15 a.m.) —I want to respond briefly to some remarks made by Senator Chamarette. I have complete sympathy with the statement that this place is not the House of Representatives and ought not to run like that, and that matters ought to be pursued. If we were in the position where Senator Chamarette was running in at the last minute and saying, `Believe me, I have this serious problem about an inconsistency between two laws that has not previously been raised and you must consider it because these are the consequences that would flow from my being correct', I would like to think that we could find some way of addressing that situation, however briefly, before proceeding.

  As I see this report on plant breeders' rights, these matters have been raised and looked at. It is probable that Senator Chamarette does not agree with the conclusions that have been reached. That is often the case. Mr Acting Deputy President, I can assure you that a number of times I have been on committees and I have not agreed with this conclusion or that conclusion; a number of times in my party room I did not agree with this conclusion or that conclusion. But that is the way of the world. We can never always get our way.

  To run this place efficiently we have to ask ourselves, `What are the forums in which these things can be discussed?' We give those forums the opportunity to do their job, and when they have done their job, whether we agree or disagree, we do not have to vote in favour of the decision. But at least the view has had an airing.

  I raise that because I think it is a little unfair of Senator Chamarette—and it is not inappropriate because we can all say what we like in here, I suppose—to give the impression that honourable senators have not been willing to listen to this argument. As I understand it from this response, the argument has been raised, there is a response, and Senator Chamarette does not agree with it.

Senator Chamarette —And I am entitled to, aren't I?

Senator VANSTONE —Of course Senator Chamarette is entitled to. She should be giving her salary back if she does not put her view when she disagrees. The point I am trying to make is that Senator Chamarette has had one opportunity to air her views. This place does not run on the luxury of using every opportunity simply to run another argument. People have listened to Senator Chamarette's view and have disagreed. Now we should proceed. Senator Chamarette has not had the good fortune to convince other people to agree with her, but that does not mean that the system is not working and that we are doing the wrong thing by saying that we are not going to look at it again.