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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 403


Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (09:31): In lieu of immediately moving to suspend standing orders, I seek leave to make a five-minute statement regarding the forced deportations from Manus Island that are currently underway.

The PRESIDENT: Is leave granted?

Senator Fifield: Can he do that after we have called on legislation?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Fifield, in consultation with the Clerk, I am thinking about what you have just interjected to Senator McKim. The appropriate time would have been before we called upon business. I am in the hands of the Senate. If the Senate does not wish for you to be heard in the manner that you have been heard, then we will proceed with business. If the Senate wishes for you to be availed of the opportunity to seek leave, I am in the hands of the Senate.

Senator Brandis: As the Manager of Government Business has pointed out, we have now embarked upon the consideration of the National Integrity Commission Bill 2013. This is not really a question of seeking to suspend standing orders, because we are embarked upon the consideration of a particular listed item of business. If Senator McKim wanted to seek leave to make a statement, he should have sought leave before we had embarked upon the business. We have now embarked upon the business. When that business is concluded in the orderly conduct of the Senate, that is the time for Senator McKim to seek leave to make a statement.

The PRESIDENT: Thank you. I concur, Senator Brandis.

Senator McKim: Could I seek your guidance, please, Mr President. I accept your ruling, obviously, on this matter. Could you advise me whether I can now move to suspend standing orders, or do I have an option to ask that the consideration of private members business be put aside in order that I can either seek leave or move to suspend standing orders?

The PRESIDENT: I understand what you are asking, Senator McKim. No, you cannot. You can do things between items of business, but we have embarked upon an item of business and clearly you did not rise in your seat until after I had called upon the Clerk to call on business. There was opportunity prior to that for you to do that. But at other times during the day there will be junctures where you could take that course of action and seek leave to make a comment or statements. What course of action you take, whether that leave is granted or not, is a matter for you. I have called the Clerk, we have moved on to business and I call the first speaker.