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Thursday, 9 June 1994
Page: 1677

Senator HILL (Leader of the Opposition) (7.03 p.m.) —in reply—I am sorry; we were trying to be helpful. As the honourable senator will know, the Australian Democrats have given notice of disallowance of these regulations. It seemed to us that the Senate would proceed on a better basis if it were able to hear from interested parties before that debate takes place.

Senator Zakharov —Did you only think of it at half past six? Why not earlier today?

Senator HILL —It only came to my attention a little while ago. The issue is whether we proceed to set up such an inquiry when we come back in a week's time or whether we give the committee secretariat a week to do the organisation. This seemed to be the better of those two options. I would have thought, on any objective assessment, that would have been seen to be so. This will mean there is, in effect, a fortnight to enable this inquiry to be set up. It is a short inquiry and, as I understand it, the witnesses are obvious. They are the specialist organisations within the field, probably very much on top of the material and very willing to cooperate in helping the parliament in its task in this regard. So it seemed to be a very sensible, appropriate way in which the parliament might act.

  In future I will become more involved in these matters. I was a bit reluctant to interfere in the workings of Senate parliamentary committees, I am a side player to that, but I realised that it would be a sensible way to deal with a difficult matter. I commend the matter to the Senate on that basis.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.