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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 7658

Senator IAN MACDONALD (12:36 PM) —Can I indicate to the minister that I have something to do with one of the bills that is listed—I will not name it—in a representative capacity on behalf of the opposition, but the shadow minister in the other place indicated to me that this particular package of legislation was not even on the government’s ‘must do’ list for this year. Let me say to Senator Ludwig that the opposition is keen to assist on urgent material that needs to be dealt with before the Christmas break. I do not want to inflame things, but I think it is a matter of record that we have not had a huge amount of legislation in this last 12 months. In many weeks we have struggled to find sufficient bills to have a chat about.

Senator Ferguson interjecting—

Senator IAN MACDONALD —Indeed, Senator Ferguson. We have had a pretty casual year this year because the government have not brought bills to this chamber for debate. It is up to them to bring bills through when they want them. If there are urgent things, as Senator Coonan has said, we of course want to help where it is important, but I say to the minister: if it is not urgent, we are not going to sit here until three o’clock in the morning to do things that could well be done next February.

Question agreed to.