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Monday, 11 May 2015
Page: 2752


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (15:36): by leave—I move:

That intervening business be postponed till after consideration of government business order of the day no. 6 (Biosecurity Bill 2014 and related bills—second reading speeches only).

Mr Deputy President, I will speak briefly to the motion before it is put just to indicate, as colleagues are probably aware, that this additional sitting day today—the day before the budget—was occasioned through the goodwill of crossbench senators, who thought this would be an opportunity to transact business. I would like to thank them for putting the proposition forward and facilitating today.

In the spirit of that, there were three bills that those colleagues agreed would be the business transacted. Given the chamber has made such    good and quick work of the three pieces of legislation before us—if only it were ever thus, and it is good to see more goodwill more often—we thought that there could be the opportunity to use this time. Indeed, the opposition also put forward that we should explore what it may be possible to do. Given the government's undertaking during discussions with the crossbench senators was that we would not seek to do anything other than those three bills unless there were complete consent and unanimity in this place, it does appear, following consultations with colleagues, parties and crossbenchers, that that is indeed the case. I just want to make clear that we are putting forward this motion because it represents the will of colleagues. We would not have sought for a moment to seek to do anything contrary to the agreement that we had reached earlier in relation to today. I will leave my remarks there and thank colleagues for their goodwill and cooperation.