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Tuesday, 28 February 1984
Page: 45


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(5.53) —Whilst I would have absolutely no doubt that any number of Opposition senators would love to get away at 4.30 p.m., or indeed at 2.30 p.m., on almost any afternoon to get back to their bases and deal with their constituents, the Opposition does not support the amendment moved by Senator Harradine. The reason for that is that we have had long discussions with the Government which is endeavouring to see if we can do in two sitting weeks what has in the past taken us three sitting weeks. This is an attempt to rationalise the hours. It is always possible to trim at both ends. I have just had it drawn to my attention that this proposal to simply carve a couple of hours off the end of the week would carve off in large part the General Business time of the Senate unless we further readjusted the program and reduced the time for Government Business. We do not think that we should do that at this stage but rather that we should see how these sitting hours work. There are plenty of sceptics in the place. I am one who hopes that the new sitting hours will work, perhaps because I am a Western Australian. The Opposition supports the Government in maintaining the sitting hours it has set out in part 1 of its motion until we have at least sucked it and seen.