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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2815

Senator HARRADINE (3.40 p.m.) —I am reluctant to vote against a move to suspend Standing Orders and I retain that reluctance in the current instance. There will always be a need for honourable senators to seek leave to take note of a Minister's answer for a number of reasons: because the answer was ambiguous and there was a need for clarification or to generate some sort of short debate which would attempt to arrive at the truth. But such measures should be rare and should not take the place of urgency motions or debates on matters of public importance, otherwise the procedures of this chamber will become bogged down almost everyday.

  I thought I heard Senator Button say that he would give leave to Senator Bishop to take note of the response to her question. To be quite frank, I really do not know why we are having this debate to suspend Standing Orders. I should have thought the best way to proceed now is not to go to a vote but for the Opposition and the Government to work it out between themselves and to decide which is the best way to go—to accept the offer of Senator Button for leave and truncate any further debate on this subject and perhaps leave it to one aside.

  I reiterate that I am reluctant to vote against the suspension of Standing Orders, lest at some stage I might wish to seek clarification and arrive at the truth or otherwise of a response to a question which I might think is in the interests of my electors.

  Question resolved in the negative.