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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 6803


Senator BOB BROWN (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (11:52): by leave—We have a general agreement in the Senate that private members' time, because it is short, will be organised so that the primary piece of legislation being brought on each week for discussion will be brought to a vote. What we have just seen is that fail to happen.

Senator Cormann: Are you saying that I am not allowed to speak?

Senator BOB BROWN: Yes, I am. Senator Cormann, you are interjecting against the standing orders. I am saying you should organise, within the ambit of a commitment from your side as well as everybody else's, to have an orderly arrangement whereby a vote is taken in private members' time. What you are otherwise saying, Senator Cormann, is that you do not want opposition bills coming to a vote in the chamber. If that is your position, that is new. Let us know about it. The same goes for the government.

Senator Cormann: My position is that, if want to speak, I should be allowed to speak.

Senator BOB BROWN: Your position is that you do not want any action, Senator Cormann. It is obvious from the contribution you were giving why that is the case. I am just saying to the government and the opposition that this is a breach of spirit by both sides and it ought to be brought back into order. Otherwise private members' time goes back to being of no significance—government bills get through; private members' bills do not get through. That is not proper in this place.