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Thursday, 14 June 1984
Page: 3032

Senator HARRADINE(3.18) —The Senate has yet to debate quite a large number of Bills. Many of those Bills are matters of great substance. It is not possible for the Senate to discharge its proper review function the rest of today and tomorrow in order to get through all this legislation. It is just not possible to do that. I anticipate that for this chamber to review the legislation properly would take at less another three or perhaps four days. There is the important repatriation legislation, about which a great number of us have received representations from veterans and veteran organisations. There is the social security and repatriation legislation and the life insurance legislation about which we have also received massive representations. There is the very important matter which Senator Chaney adverted to and a number of other matters which will need to be properly canvassed if we are to discharge our responsibilities.

The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Button) gave guarantees to this Senate that there would be consultations about this matter. I have not been consulted about the matter. I have not even been asked by the Leader of the Government whether I would prefer to sit on Saturday or Friday night or Tuesday or whenever.

Senator Button —Oh, yes you have. You told us you wouldn't sit on Monday. You made it quite clear to everyone.

Senator HARRADINE —I indicated that it is a problem for every member of parliament in that they have to discharge not only legislative functions, but also electoral functions. Whole lists of people want to see every one of us. We have not been able to see them for the last two and half weeks. That was the reason that I hoped to see that we had Monday free. I was not asked at all about Saturday. I have personal commitments to discharge on Saturday, as probably a large number of us do.

Senator Robert Ray —You were going to go to the races.

Senator HARRADINE —I was not going to go to the races. It happens to be the ninth birthday of one of my boys. I was not going to take him to the races, because I will not introduce him to them that early. But I do say that on these matters there are proprieties to be followed. We had an example yesterday when the order of business was changed very suddenly without consultation, certainly not with me, about a matter about which I had some interest. I do not criticise in any way the very efficient work that is performed by the Government Whip and the Opposition Whip and their staff. I think that they do an absolutely magnificent job. They tell us what is going to happen, as is their function. But I believe it is the function of the leaders of the various parties to consult with other people who are vitally affected. I hope that that message is received -it has certainly been given-and acted upon in future.