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Thursday, 25 November 2010
Page: 2177

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (9:42 AM) —That is extraordinary, isn’t it, Mr President? We have poor Senator Abetz moving to oppose a motion for a debate on sitting hours that he has not seen. But it is not too unusual for Senator Abetz to be opposing things he does not understand.

Senator Ian Macdonald —Move the gag. That’s what Greens do: gag debate.

Senator BOB BROWN —What is more, Mr President, you might note that we have bleating from his seat the even poorer Senator Macdonald, who is equally ignorant of what the motion is that the Leader of the Government in the Senate wants to put.

Senator Abetz —You’re really getting into the Christmas spirit, Bob!

Senator BOB BROWN —Senator Abetz has mentioned Christmas. He said last night that there should be more sitting hours. I am in the mood that we should sit till Christmas if necessary. I am looking forward to the opposition being called on this. They might be changing a few pre-Christmas events.

Senator Fifield —We already have.

Senator BOB BROWN —That is excellent. We are in the spirit of giving ourselves more time here.

Senator Ian Macdonald —Gagging it!

Senator BOB BROWN —Poor Senator Macdonald is gagging, he says. That is up to him. There should be time for the debate on this. We should be enlightened by what the motion is. We will be supporting this motion so that, in the commonsense way of the Senate, it can be looked at and properly dealt with.

The opposition seem to have left the chamber—so much for attention to detail with regard to Friday morning! They are all missing except for the obligatory two senators—so much for attention to this important matter. I look forward to seeing what the government have to put before us. We support this motion, and we will support a full debate on it, if necessary, so that everybody can come to a proper arrangement for us to sit here today and, I presume tomorrow, in order to deal— (Quorum formed) So the opposition, having vacated the chamber, call for a quorum. As you know, Mr President, that is about as irresponsible an action as an opposition can take at this stage of the game. I presume more quorums will be called during the day because the opposition are absent from the chamber and unable to properly take part in the debate. That is fine too. As I say, they should get ready to sit through until Christmas if we need to; I am quite happy to. I support the suspension that is inherent in this motion.