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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26573

Debate resumed.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Ferguson)—I have a list that says Senator Brown is the first speaker on this bill.

Senator Faulkner —Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I do not want to—in fact, I do not intend to—stop Senator Brown speaking. I just draw your attention to the fact that the second reading of this bill was dealt with yesterday as non-controversial legislation. Senator Troeth, on behalf of the government, is in continuation, if you like, as the minister in reply. I am very happy in this circumstance for Senator Brown to speak but I think he would require leave to do so. I certainly would grant leave but the status, I understood, was that we had the minister in reply in continuation. I would be happy to give Senator Brown leave and I will certainly do so, but I think we have a problem if we do not.

Senator Coonan —My advisors have just confirmed that Senator Troeth was some very short way into her summation.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —She had the call, as I understand it, but she had not got very far into her speech. She does not have to conclude her speech, does she?

Senator Faulkner —I am saying that if Senator Brown wants to make a speech on the second reading, which I am happy to give leave for, I do not believe he can do it after the minister. That is all. That is the point of order. If you interpret it that way, that is fine. I do not intend to try to stop Senator Brown from speaking.

Senator Murray —I was there. It was not non-controversial. The bill was introduced at the time because time was available. The minister acted in error—a perfectly reasonable error—and thought she should summarise when it was known to us and to other participants at the time that the Greens still had to give a speech on the second reading.

Senator Coonan —Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I am informed by Senator Troeth that there were no other speakers in the chamber. In fact, when she commenced her summation, it was her expectation that, when resumed, she would continue.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I will seek advice. This is a very difficult situation. Senator Troeth cannot close the debate if there were others who were going to speak. I think the best thing to do would be to go by the speakers' list that we have, which has Senator Brown to speak and Senator Coonan to sum up. Maybe Senator Faulkner will speak. I call Senator Brown.