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Tuesday, 28 February 1984
Page: 44

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(5.45) —I indicate the Opposition's attitude to the notice of motion, a good deal of which the Opposition does not oppose, some of which it wishes to amend and one piece of which it does oppose. I think it would facilitate our consideration of this matter if we dealt separately with the different elements of the notice of motion-it is divided into six parts-pursuant to standing order 130. I mention that to the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Button); I do not know whether he has any objection. That would enable me to move the amendment to part one of the motion which, I think, has the agreement of the Government and the Australian Democrats; to move an amendment to the part 3 which is probably disputed by both the Government and the Democrats; to oppose part 4; to move an amendment if I am not successful in that opposition; and to support the Government on part 6 of the amendment that has just been moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Mr Deputy President, I think you can direct this under standing order 130, but I would prefer it to be done with the agreement of the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —There can be a common debate, but I will put the questions separately on the various parts of the motion.

Senator Harradine —Mr Deputy President-

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Harradine, did you wish to speak on that point?

Senator Harradine —I have two amendments to move to the first part of the motion .

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I will call you before I put the question on that part of the motion.

Senator CHANEY —Mr Deputy President, you have already accepted an amendment from the Leader of the Government in the Senate to part 6 of the motion. Do you want to deal with that now?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —No, I will deal with part one only. I will leave part 6 until the end. Senator Harradine has an amendment to part one.

Senator CHANEY —I move:

At end of paragraph (1) of the proposed Sessional Order relating to the Days and Hours of Sitting, add

': Provided that the President, upon a request or requests by an absolute majority of the whole number of Senators that the Senate meet at a certain time, shall fix a day and hour of meeting in accordance with such request or requests, and such time of meeting shall be notified to each Senator.

'For these purposes a request by the Leader or Deputy-Leader of the Opposition in the Senate shall be deemed to be a request by every Senator of the Opposition and a request by the Leader or Deputy-Leader of the Australian Democrats shall be deemed to be a request by every Australian Democrat Senator.

'Provided further that the request or requests may be made to the President by leaving the same with, or delivering the same to, the Clerk of the Senate, who shall immediately notify the President.

'In the event of the President being unavailable, the Clerk shall without delay notify the Deputy-President, or, should he be unavailable, any one of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees, who shall be deemed to be required by the Senate to summon the Senate on behalf of the President, in accordance with the terms of this Resolution'.

Senator CHANEY —The amendments comprise the standard form of words which have been used by all parties in this chamber since, I think, 1975 to ensure that a majority of honourable senators can recall the Senate. I ask for the support of the Senate on the basis that it has now been accepted for a very long time that the majority of honourable senators should be able to recall the Senate when it is not sitting. It has not been common to have it in place when the Senate is rising for only one week, but it is the view of the Opposition that when the Senate rises for a fortnight or, in the case of Easter, three weeks it is worth while. I would imagine that it is very unlikely that the provision would be used , but it could be.

Amendment agreed to.