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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 192

Senator COATES (11.54 a.m.) —I do not think we should spend a long time on this matter. I have a little worry about the mere fact of Senator Hill having raised this, despite having agreed that we were putting this matter into the standing orders to ensure that it applied after the next election. He also wants to cover his bets on it. Although the basic proposal of sharing the chairs was not initially supported by the government, we recognised that as the package was pulled together we could get agreement on it. It is a matter of accepting that, even though it is not precise and cannot be as precise as some might want it, given the overall arrangement it is an appropriate outcome.

  On the other point that Senator Hill raised about the transition arrangements, I agree that there will need to be discussions. I assume that there would be a getting together of the existing chairs, deputy chairs, the Democrat whip and whoever else, to identify the particular problems and arrange appropriate transitions. Some references which have barely begun on some committees can be taken over by new ones. There will have to be some sensible arrangements to ensure an appropriate distribution of the existing references and that members who have participated continue to participate appropriately.

  I emphasise that one of the benefits of having the participating member arrangement is that it will allow existing members of a committee who have dealt with a reference to continue to deal with it on some new committee even though they do not intend to continue permanently on that committee. That option will help the transition arrangement for some of these references.

  Motion, as amended, agreed to.