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Thursday, 9 July 1998
Page: 5418

Senator HARRADINE (9:31 PM) —I will not be long because I know other speakers want to make their contributions, but I wish to indicate to the chamber that I understand the feeling around this place about sitting during this week in the first place. There are school holidays in a number of states and people need to have that well and truly in their minds.

The intention of the government this week was to deal specifically with certain measures, particularly the Wik legislation and the Telstra legislation. The position is simply this: whether the government got their Wik bill through or whether they did not, it is my view that they are entitled to have the matter before the parliament and determined one way or the other. I think it is a reasonable proposition that we address the issue of Telstra and come to a conclusion. What the government is virtually proposing is that, if we can end it by Saturday night, there will probably be about 25 hours for debate on the matter. If we cannot deal with this particular matter in 25 hours, I think that there is something wrong.

Senator Chris Evans —I thought you were pro-family.

Senator HARRADINE —Yes, pro-family. The only other alternative is to come back next week or the week after next. I believe that is the issue involved. Let us get over the matter.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT —Order! There are far too many interjections.

Senator HARRADINE —There is no deal about this. What I am saying is that clearly the government want us to deal with the matter. They are entitled to that. We have to look at the best way of doing that. The best way of doing it—as I see it, at least—is to get it over and done with so people can get home to their families, rather than our being dragged back here and trying to deal with it for two, three, four, five or six days next week or the week after. I think the proposition, if we all—

Opposition senators interjecting

Senator HARRADINE —Are you ready to deal with it in 25 hours? Do you think 25 hours would be sufficient? If you do not think 25 hours is sufficient, then there is something wrong with you.