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Friday, 25 November 2011
Page: 9621

Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery) (09:43): I did not want to delay the opportunity for the opposition to be able to debate bills later on this morning. I just want to inject a little sense in this debate. These are ordinary notices of motions that go through to give senators leave for both personal reasons and parliamentary business. They are generally not debated. Why? Everyone from the opposition, the government and the cross-benchers will at some point seek the same result; they will ask for leave of parliament for private or personal business or for parliamentary business and it will be granted without debate. We all know in this place that there are reasons for people to undertake that and it is not undertaken lightly. People do have to convince their own side that they do have work that will take them away. Leave of absence is certainly not handed out easily. From my perspective, I do not allow senators or the whip to go easily out of this place. This is where they should be, doing their business. However, there are circumstances that will warrant that.

I am not about to set any precedent here. I think we should be very careful about that because we will not be able to live easily with the precedent we set. With those short words I would encourage people to draw a breath and realise that this is an ordinary issue that occurs on many days that the Senate sits.