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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10344


Senator URQUHART (TasmaniaOpposition Whip in the Senate) (18:53): I move that the question be put.

Senator Cormann: I was actually up. I didn't know that she was—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Except that you close the debate.

Senator Cormann: Sure, that is why I should be getting the call rather than the senator who wants to close the debate. I am the leader of the government so I take precedence in terms of the call.

Senator URQUHART: I was actually exercising my right to speak in the debate.

Senator Cormann: I'm standing up. I'm seeking the call as the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Minister, there is no question you have precedence, but on this occasion you also close the debate, and Senator Urquhart was wanting to make a contribution.

Senator Cormann: She does not want to make a contribution.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I didn't know that and nor did you. She wanted the call.

Senator Cormann: She is not wanting to make a contribution. I think you know that.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: No, I didn't know that. She told me she wanted the call. I called her. I had no idea. I assumed she was making a contribution.

Senator Cormann: I'm seeking the call, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and I'm asserting precedence, as Leader of the Government in the Senate, to make a contribution.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator O'Neill, on a point of order?

Senator O'Neill: I do not believe that the Leader of the Government can exercise his right in that way. Senator Urquhart had the call, she was on her feet and she made a contribution. I think it should stand on its merits. It's time for us to move on. We've got enough chaos and dysfunction going on here without this sort of debate distracting from the mess they've already created.

Senator Cormann: There was nobody else on the speakers' list. I was quite entitled to rise, and as the Leader of the Government in the Senate I am asserting my privilege to use the chamber to get the call.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I will give you the call, Senator Cormann.