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Monday, 7 September 2009
Page: 5695

Senator LUDWIG (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) (12:53 PM) —The government does support the ruling that you have made, Mr President. The debate does seem to have wandered a little bit away from the substance of the matter that was raised. Irrespective of the arguments that have been put, it is entirely appropriate for a senator to raise a matter of privilege and to ask for it to be declared a matter of precedent. In this instance you have ruled on that matter—unfavourably to Senator Milne—after what appears to be quite an in-depth look at the issue.

From what you have outlined there does not appear to be a problem with privileges issues themselves being raised; there seems to be a problem in relation to the way this is being ventilated in relation to a privilege matter. As has been correctly pointed out, there are a range of opportunities through the Senate, other than the use of privilege, for Senator Milne to deal with this or other matters that she may wish to raise. In short, the government supports the ruling made.