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Thursday, 12 May 1994
Page: 763


Senator VANSTONE —by leave—Mr President, it seems to me from what you have just said in relation to the difficulty for you in keeping order if everybody does not behave properly, that you will keep order in this place provided everybody behaves. That would make the purpose of your being here quite pointless. I simply point out to you that if we are all going to behave we do not need a president to keep order in the place—


Senator Collins —You are not as stupid as that.


Senator VANSTONE —Hold your horses there. Just calm yourself down.


The PRESIDENT —Order!


Senator VANSTONE —Mr President, under standing order 184, which gives you the power to keep order in this place, I would just ask you to reflect at some stage other than immediately now on—


Senator Collins —Why don't you play with your bell, Amanda.


Senator Gareth Evans —Have a tinkle.


The PRESIDENT —Order!


Senator Hill —Mr President, I raise a point of order. You have been particularly critical of our side in terms of interjections today. Senator Vanstone is not being permitted to make her speech because of the rowdy interjections from the front bench opposite. I ask you, in exercising your authority, to do so equally to both sides of the chamber and draw the attention of those rowdy ministers to the standing orders.


The PRESIDENT —Your point of order is upheld. Members on the government side are certainly being disorderly and I ask them to be quiet.


Senator VANSTONE —I will not be much longer, Mr President, with your success in keeping that side quiet. The point I wanted to make was with respect to standing order 184 under which you have the power to keep order in this place. I wonder whether you would reflect on the intellectual skill it takes on your part to identify that someone on this side should be hurried up in asking a question. You somehow seem able to deduce that a question is not near enough, and so you say, `Come on. Question. Put your question'. Yet you do not seem to have the same skill with respect to answers to order ministers to get to the point of the answer. Mr President, I think if you can answer that question for us you might have an easier time of it.


The PRESIDENT —I do not know what that has got to do with the question at hand, but I will have a look at what you have had to say and come back.