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Thursday, 23 June 2011
Page: 3666

Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery) (11:50): It seems an unusual way to do this—to have a discussion across the chamber. I indicate firstly that it is private senators' time. It is for private senators' bills to be spoken to, debated, put through the committee stage and finalised. The governĀ­ment will not agree to a device to bring something to a vote in private senators' time. I think that would be a type of guillotine of a particular bill. If it finishes within that hour—if all senators want it to finish within that hour and they confine their speeches to that—so be it. But I cannot and would not, either by leave or through a motion, agree to a procedural device that would bring it to a finalisation. I think that is sensible; otherwise, we detract from private senators' time to openly discuss private senators' bills. That would be the general feeling, I would think. Those are the first principles I would always go to. There may be other reasons. People can agree around the chamber to bring things to a conclusion and that would be a sensible thing to do if they so wished. So I am not ruling out the possibility of it being concluded and having a vote on all stages within that hour, but I feel obliged to make plain that I do not want to agree to a procedural device that would then enforce that because it may mean that other senators around the chamber who want to make a contribution cannot. That is not to say that I would then encourage senators to speak who would otherwise have not spoken on the bill.