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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 514

Senator GARETH EVANS (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) —by leave-I am indebted to Senator Watson for that explanation.

Senator Lewis —And to me. I helped you out of the hole. You never acknowledge anything, though.

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am sorry, I did not hear about the honourable senator's role in the whole thing-I feared the worst. To the extent that this is the crucial number in determining the Government's majority on the Joint Committee of Public Accounts in the normal way I think the point is well taken that any further consideration of this by the Government would be with only one final result. Perhaps the point could be made again in the context of a vacancy occurring in the non-government ranks of the Committee. Maybe Senator Macklin might reasonably devote some lobbying skill to achieving a more satisfactory outcome in that particular context rather than this one.

Senator Macklin —It would have been useful to have a response before the motion came in-that's what I was saying.

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am now told that the letter was sent on to me this morning after the matter came up. I am sorry, I had simply not caught up with it. The realities of the situation are as they have been described and under the circumstances the Democrats had better hold their fire until the next vacancy occurs. We certainly will talk about it in the context of other future vacancies that arise, provided that balance can be maintained.

Question resolved in the affirmative.