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Tuesday, 28 February 1984
Page: 44

Senator HARRADINE(5.49) —My amendments relate to two questions. One is the days on which we are requested to sit and the other is the time we finish on Thursday of the second week of sitting. I move my first amendment, which is:

Proposed Sessional Order 1, relating to the Days and Hours of Sitting, on the Thursday of the second sitting week, leave out '6.30 p.m.', insert '4.30 p.m.'.

My proposal would enable honourable senators from Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia to get back to their home bases on Thursday night if that is possible. I understand that the new sitting days are largely to meet the convenience of Western Australian senators.

Senator Coleman —We still cannot get home if we knock off at 6.30 p.m.

Senator HARRADINE —I am referring to the new sitting hours after we have sat on the Friday of the first week and we come back on the Monday. This arrangement is largely designed to meet the convenience of Western Australian senators who may wish to stay in Canberra during the weekend.

I feel that the only honourable senators who will be able to get back to their home base under this particular provision will be senators from New South Wales. I put it to you, Mr Deputy President, that we will be away for two weeks of working days, apart from Friday afternoon of the second week. If we can get home on Thursday night then of course we can have the full day on Friday for constituency duties. As we have now agreed to sit through the luncheon break on Thursdays, having gained that time, I feel that it would be ideal to knock off at 4.30 p.m. on the last Thursday and so gain some further time in the electorate without much loss of time in parliament. I think that you, Mr Deputy President, and all honourable senators will appreciate the point I am making, particularly those honourable senators from Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania who, through my proposal, would be able to get home on Thursday nights.