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Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Page: 9985


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (18:40): I completely reject the proposition that has just been put. The chamber has been going through a debate on the Regional Investment Corporation, and none of us in this chamber could possibly know what the view of either former Senator Jacqui Lambie or the Jacqui Lambie Network would have been after considering the arguments that were put during this debate. The time to make a judgement is the time when a vote is taken.

The government, in good faith, paired former senators Ludlam and Waters, and we've paired others, where there is a clearly established party position. And of course the same happens on our side. In relation to the Jacqui Lambie Network, there is no capacity for us to know what the view of the Jacqui Lambie Network would have been at the conclusion of the debate. Everyone who has been in this chamber, even for a short period, knows that positions, in particular on the crossbench, can move in different directions, depending on how the debate evolves and depending on what amendments are put forward. And there is absolutely no capacity for us to establish the position of a senator who resigned from the Senate on the basis that she was ineligible to sit in this chamber.

The situation in relation to the Greens was quite different because the Greens continued to be represented in this chamber. It is quite easy for the chamber to identify what the position of the Greens is right now, after the debate has taken place. It is quite easy for us to identify what the position of the Nick Xenophon Team is. That is why we are pairing Senator Kakoschke-Moore. It is impossible for us to know what the position of former Senator Lambie or the Jacqui Lambie Network would have been, given that she was not here to participate in the debate. The government always respects pairing arrangements, but we are not in a position to provide a pair in relation to somebody who wasn't eligible to sit in this chamber and who doesn't have any other party representation in this chamber.