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Thursday, 24 August 1972
Page: 383


Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to you, Mr Acting President, for your consideration. 1 refer to the method of honourable senators rising in their places to ask questions without notice. Having observed the scene for some 10 years and, during that time, increasing in age and finding increasing disability in jumping up and down like a yo-yo, and after hearing comments from a Norwegian who thought as 1 do that it is quite undignified for members to keep on popping up and down almost like continuous yo-yos, I ask: Would it not be possible for some system to operate whereby honourable senators could notify the presiding officer beforehand either personally or by messenger that they had a question to ask and let the President or whoever is acting in that position proceed to call on honourable senators to rise in their turns rather than have this undignified method of popping up and down and hoping that we will be seen?


The ACTING PRESIDENT -In reply to Senator Turnbull, I desire to say that the present practice in regard to the asking of questions is a long-established one. I think that any change may have to go before the Standing Orders Committee. However, I will certainly refer the matter to the President on his return. I want to say that 1 am following precedent. I know that sometimes honourable senators may feel that they are being overlooked. But certain principles have been set for me to follow. They are that leaders and deputy leaders of parties or whips take precedence over other honourable senators when they stand to ask a question. I want honourable senators to bear this in mind. The request of Senator Turnbull will be submitted to the President for consideration.







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