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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26286


Senator ALLISON (10:27 AM) —by leave—I thank Senator Ludwig for explaining where the negotiations are at. Again I say that negotiations in this place about what we deal with and the hours of business should be undertaken with everyone in this place, including Senator Harradine, Senator Harris, the Democrats and the Greens. We would all like to know what is going on instead of being told: `It's been negotiated; this is it. We've taken the bills off the motion but, informally, it's agreed that we're going to do the free trade agreement, marriage and electoral.' Now Senator Ludwig says that we will assess the situation as the debate goes on—but at what time? Are we going to have a leaders and whips meeting so we can work it out or is it just going to be negotiated between the two major parties with us being told the outcome of the negotiation? I can understand that you have the numbers and you can do this, but it is not the way we do business in this place—at least, it has not been since I have been here, since 1996. The smooth operation of this chamber depends on cooperation and communication with all of us, and it is best done in a more formal arrangement than discussions going on across the chamber.