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Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Page: 1310

Senator ELLISON (4:17 PM) —I will address my remarks to Senator Bartlett’s amendment, which has not been moved yet. The opposition believes that Senator Bartlett’s amendment is flawed because if the decision by the committee for a chairman cannot be reached then it has to come back here to be determined in this chamber. It is our view that that would delay the very good work of this committee and that furthermore—

Government senators interjecting—

Senator ELLISON —Those opposite might think that overseeing a matter as important as this is to Indigenous affairs is not important and that that good work can be delayed, but we in the coalition do not believe that. We also believe that there is a precedent with prior select committees—where the committee elect a chairman from amongst the opposition members—and that is exactly what is proposed. It is normal Senate convention that those who propose a Senate select committee have the chair of the committee. That is the normal convention. Those are the reasons the coalition will not support Senator Bartlett’s amendment, and we believe that it is important that the committee be able to appoint a chairman from its members as quickly as possible and get on with what is very important work.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Kirk)—The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Siewert be agreed to.

Question agreed to.