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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31677

Mr ABBOTT (Leader of the House) (2:24 PM) —Mr Speaker, may I speak on indulgence to update the House.

The SPEAKER —I should indicate that indulgence was extended to the Manager of Opposition Business; it is only reasonable that it also be extended to the Leader of the House.

Mr ABBOTT —Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I know that all of us are starting to get a little bit impatient at the fact that we are still sitting. I know that all of us would very much like to go home to our families and indeed to our electorates. There is one reason we are here, and that is that the Senate has not dealt with the legislation before it. The Senate will deal with that legislation. This parliament will not rise until the Senate has dealt with the legislation before it. The Senate can reject legislation or it can pass legislation or it can amend legislation, but it cannot fail to deal with it. What the government will not accept is a process of filibustering going on in the Senate, orchestrated by the Australian Labor Party. I say to the member for Lalor—

The SPEAKER —Order, Minister! The minister is speaking on indulgence.

Mr ABBOTT —that, if she wants this House to go home, she should tell her colleagues in the Senate to stop the filibustering and deal with the legislation. It is my desire, as it is the Manager of Opposition Business's desire, that this House can conclude its business. All of us wish to be home as quickly as possible, with our families, in our electorates, but the fact is the taxpayers of Australia expect us to do our job, and our job is to pass the legislation or to otherwise deal with the legislation. Our job is to deal with the legislation in one way or another, so deal with the legislation we must. I want to make it very clear: this House will sit as long as is necessary for the legislation to be dealt with. We will not sit any longer than we need to, but we will not leave until this legislation is dealt with.