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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 551

Senator BUTTON (Leader of the Government in the Senate)(10.03) —I wish to make a point that I should have made in my earlier contribution. I suppose I was reminded of it by Senator Walters. There are two parties involved when a speech is being made-the person who makes the speech and the person who has to listen to it. The 20-minute limitation is beneficial to those who have to listen to it, I would suspect, as well as to the person who has to make it in the form of a discipline. Attention spans are falling rapidly. I think one must consider that aspect of it also.

Senator Chaney —What did you say again?

Senator BUTTON —I said `attention spans'. It was a very good joke. I must say that I enjoyed it more when I read it in the News of the World 15 years ago. The point is that one probably gets a better debate if the contributions are shorter; they may even be sharper.