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Monday, 13 October 2008
Page: 5751


Senator MINCHIN (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (2:11 PM) —On similar indulgence, I would like to comment very briefly on what Senator Evans has just informed us. I do know from experience in government that ministers responsible for environment and climate change seem to spend an enormous amount of time attending international conferences—which expel not much more than a whole lot of hot air—so we do understand that Senator Wong does have to travel. But this is the second full week in the last three sitting weeks that Senator Wong has been absent from this chamber in question time, and it was certainly my rule as a minister never to be absent from question time. For two of the last three sitting weeks she has been absent. I think that is stretching the bounds of the tolerance of the chamber and shows some disrespect for the chamber. But I would simply ask the government to make sure that Senator Wong is indeed here for all of estimates next week and here for all of the last sitting weeks that remain of this year.