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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 7657

Senator COONAN (12:34 PM) —I have listened very carefully to Senator Ludwig’s comments. I do not think he meant to infer any criticism as to the level of cooperation that has been extended to the government in getting this program together. The statistics do not lie, and the extra time allowed for government business in the sitting week prior to this alone was nine hours and 42 minutes.

I will not take up the Senate’s time talking about all of the extra time that we have agreed to to enable the government to progress its program. This is a matter for cooperation. It is the last week. We think there is eminent good sense in looking at the program day by day. That is not in any way to suggest there is any lack of cooperation—just the contrary. All senators need to be able to make the contributions they need to make in relation to these important matters. I think there are something like 17 packages left. We hope that nothing else is going to be introduced—I notice a couple more seem to have snuck in. The government knows we are taking a very responsible approach to this, but there is an end to one’s patience with some of these things. I am sure during this last week all senators will be very keen to ensure that the program can be completed, and we will review it tomorrow.