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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2369

Senator FAULKNER (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  A motion to provide for the presentation or consideration of documents to achieve the following objects:

  (a)that committee reports, delegation reports and government responses be presented to the Senate only in those times specified in 1.(3)(b)(v) and (xi) in the routine of business outlined for the Senate in the sessional order agreed to on 2 February 1994;

  (b)that in the case of committee reports presented in accordance with the procedural order relating to presentation of committee reports when the Senate is not sitting, paragraph (d) be amended to read `the President shall cause the report to be tabled in those times set aside by sessional order on Wednesdays and Thursdays for such documents'; and

  (c)that for other documents presented to the Senate by the President and the Clerk, a time limit of 10 minutes per speaker apply to debate.

I seek leave to make a short statement in relation to that.

  Leave granted.

Senator FAULKNER —This matter was discussed by the Senate Procedure Committee. The committee thought that these issues were of importance and believed it appropriate that, before we conclude this session, notice of this notice be given by me on behalf of the committee so that senators would have an opportunity to give the matter consideration over the break. I want to indicate to the Senate that obviously, if these issues were to be followed through after discussion by various parties and independent senators, it would require me to propose formal sessional or standing orders by notice of motion. I plan to distribute this during the break to give everyone the maximum opportunity to have a look at it.

  My interest today was in honouring the commitment that I had made to the Procedure Committee in terms of the general principle of the proposals. That was the view, I think, of all members of the Procedure Committee. I thought it important for senators to have the capacity to look at any proposed reforms and changes in this area before the break. I will follow it through as necessary by formal notice at the appropriate time of any proposed changes to sessional and standing orders.

  Senator Panizza—Will the minister distribute his notice of motion today so that we have something to take away with us immediately, rather than wait for the Hansard tomorrow?

Senator FAULKNER —We will distribute it around the chamber, if that would be helpful. The opposition and other members of the Procedure Committee are aware of this process. The key point is that I had indicated that I thought it might be possible to give formal notice of amendments to the sessional or standing orders. That has not been possible and I thought it would be useful for all parties to be able to have a look at the general principles involved.