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Thursday, 14 June 1984
Page: 3031

Senator MASON(3.16) —The first point I make is one of agreement with Senator Chaney. The Government had a deplorable record early in the session. We sat here for days and weeks on end without any legislation being brought forward. Now, at the end of the session, we have this problem.

Opposition Senators-Hear, hear!

Senator MASON —I hear agreement from people on my right. I recall that the Liberal-National Party Government had a very similar type of operation. That, however, is not the situation at present. It is now the Labor Government's responsibility. Perhaps we can put it down to inexperience. It may be that sooner or later the Government will learn how to handle its business properly. We hope that happens in the next session.

The Australian Democrats will not support the Liberal Party's amendment. It is our belief that a public interest matter is involved here. It is our responsibility to get our business done. Have honourable senators thought that it would in fact be a great and expensive charge on the community if we were to break for the weekend and come back next week for perhaps one or two days. I am not prepared and the Democrats are not prepared to incur that amount of public expenditure. It may be perfectly all right for people to think that we are here with unlimited amounts of public money at our disposal. In fact, that is not the case. I think it is high time we in this place thought about saving the taxpayers' money as well as spending it. We will, I think, have no difficulty in getting through our business by Friday night. We can do that if honourable senators restrain themselves. Certainly they should put their points of view; I believe they have every right to do so. Those points of view should be able to be put in reasonable periods of time and they do not have to be reiterated over and over again. I would have thought that the situation that now obtains, that the Opposition might like to think about, is that we have a problem in getting through the business tomorrow without going too late tomorrow night. I suggest from past experience in this place over the last six or seven years that once we bite the bullet on this matter it would be quite possible for honourable senators to accommodate themselves to that.