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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2814


Senator COULTER (Leader of the Australian Democrats) (3.33 p.m.) —With some regret, the Australian Democrats will not be supporting the suspension of Standing Orders on this occasion. There are several reasons for this. We would normally support suspension of Standing Orders but on this occasion speakers for the Opposition have repeatedly broken the rules and have addressed the substantive issue rather than the issue of suspension. I believe that the majority of the debate has already been put.

  There is nothing that the Opposition can put by way of debate this afternoon that will make one iota of difference to whether Mr Hawke or anybody else leads the Australian Labor Party in the months ahead. So, really, one could use quite a crude term to describe what is going on during the broadcast afternoon in relation to the attempt by the Opposition to raise this issue by way of debate.

  The only thing that might change things would be events outside this chamber. I have no doubt, as somebody mentioned earlier by way of interjection, that not only might some members of the Labor Party choose to drive the bus to which Senator Button referred but, equally with some glee, some members of the Opposition would drive the same bus.