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Wednesday, 31 August 1994
Page: 625

Senator ALSTON (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) —by leave—I can understand Senator Collins being caught on the walk on this matter.

Senator Collins —I only just saw it on the monitor.

Senator ALSTON —I know. But let me say this: we have simply put to one side the current request for tabling all of those documents by tomorrow.

Senator Collins —I understand that.

Senator ALSTON —I am just explaining it to you. We have agreed that the motion, as amended, be taken as formal. So there is no opportunity for further debate. Hang on, minister.

Senator Collins —I haven't said a word.

Senator ALSTON —You do not look as though you are in absolute agreement with me. I want to clarify the position for Senator Collins. I understand that we could have gone another way. We could have suspended standing orders. Senator Collins could have argued against the motion absolutely and still gone off and got instructions later, or he could do that later. The motion would have been carried. All we are doing now is requiring the tabling of the list. Senator Collins is saying that he would like more time so he can ask Mr Brereton whether or not he would like to hand the list over voluntarily. It does not really matter because, if Mr Brereton says yes, we are in the same position; if he says no, we would have pressed ahead and carried it.

Senator Collins —Yes, I understand that.

Senator ALSTON —I thought Senator Collins wanted the matter stood down for half an hour. I am just saying that the matter has been carried with leave to speak on either side.