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Thursday, 13 September 1984
Page: 991

Senator LEWIS —I seek leave to move a motion-

Senator Georges-I rise on a point of order. The Senate had the intention of rising for Estimate committee hearings this morning. It was interrupted by a debate on a censure motion and we proceeded to that matter. We then continued, after the debate had finished, to deal with machinery matters. I took it that we would then rise so that the Estimates committees could meet. I think it would be contrary to the spirit of the arrangement if any new matter were now to be brought before the Senate.

The PRESIDENT —There is no point of order involved. It is completely a matter for the Senate. There is no motion before the Chair at the moment for the Senate to adjourn and the Senate is proceeding with its business.

Senator Chipp-I take another point of order. I do not know much about these things, but there is a whole team of civil servants and senior Service personnel in King's Hall. Could they not be told that the Senate will be breaking for lunch in five or 10 minutes? They have been there for two hours already.

Senator Robertson-I think, the honourable senator will find that those arrangements have been made.

Senator LEWIS —I seek leave to move:

That the Senate

(a) reaffirms the long-established principle that it is a serious contempt for any person to attempt to deter or hinder any witness from giving evidence before the Senate or a Senate committee, or to improperly influence a witness in respect of such evidence; or

(b) warns all persons against taking any action which might amount to attempting to improperly influence a witness in respect of such evidence.

The PRESIDENT —Is leave granted?

Senator Georges-I again raise a point of order. A substantive motion has been brought before the Senate--

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Lewis at this stage is seeking leave to move a motion.

Senator Georges-I seek your guidance, Mr President, because it may be necessary for leave to be refused because this motion should lead to substantial debate. I wonder what the procedures will be.

The PRESIDENT —Order! It is not a matter for the Chair. Senator Lewis has indicated that he seeks leave to move a motion. It is up to the Senate to determine whether or not leave is to be granted.