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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26484

Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (12:40 PM) —I move:

That the time allotted for consideration of the remaining stages of the bills be as follows:

Anti-terrorism Bill (No. 3) 2004 and

Anti-terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2004 until 2 pm, 13 August 2004

Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 until 5.30 pm, 13 August 2004

Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Prisoner Voting and Other Measures) Bill 2004 until 6 pm, 13 August 2004.

It is important when the Senate considers a time management motion that a couple of points be made. The Senate always has it in its hands to make decisions about how much priority and how much time it allocates to legislation. We have, of course, during the last fortnight spent almost every hour of every sitting day on a very important piece of legislation—the free trade agreement. The parliament has passed that legislation into law, and it is a great piece of history that this parliament has made as a result. But we did spend all of the time of every sitting day for the entire fortnight—the time available for government business, I might say—to pass one bill, and there were more than 23 other bills that we sought to deal with.

Because the Senate has not been able to make decisions about time management and the time to apply to bills, we have now sought the Senate's agreement that we do allocate times to ensure that these remaining bills are dealt with in a reasonable time. The Senate will make its own decision about how long it wants to spend on the time management motion and how much time it will spend on the bills. That is a matter for all senators. I am not going to delay the debate any longer than necessary, so that we can maximise the time available for debate on the legislation and minimise time on what is effectively a motion that seeks to create a time management process.

We have chosen to allocate time to each of these bills. The marriage bill will commence after the votes on the antiterrorism bills and conclude at 5.30 p.m., then the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Prisoner Voting and Other Measures) Bill 2004 will conclude at 6 p.m. We have chosen that time because it leaves the remainder of the afternoon to deal with this legislation—for any senator who wants to have a say to have a say—and to reach a democratic conclusion to these matters. It also ensures that all senators can have a reasonable chance at getting home at a reasonable hour this evening and not see the Senate sitting into the night and into the weekend. I think it is a sensible time management proposal and I commend it to the Senate.