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Monday, 5 March 1984
Page: 411


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition) —The Opposition no longer supports the amendment in the form in which it has been put by the--


Senator Gareth Evans —Mr President, I raise a point of order. On what basis is Senator Chaney now addressing the Senate? He is still speaking to the amendment which is before the Senate.


Senator CHANEY —Mr President, I have never spoken to the motion. I spoke only to the Australian Democrats' amendment.


The PRESIDENT —It was understood that the Leader of the Opposition was speaking to the whole debate when he spoke. During his remarks, after he had been speaking for about 10 or 15 minutes, he referred to the amendment moved by Senator Haines. He is entitled to seek leave to speak.


Senator CHANEY —As I recall, Mr President, I rose to speak to an amendment to Senator Durack's amendment which had been moved by Senator Haines. I explained why the Opposition would not support Senator Haines's amendment. Senator Haines' s amendment has now been carried and we now have before us an amended proposal from Senator Durack.


The PRESIDENT —Order! The Leader of the Opposition did not indicate at the time he spoke that he was speaking in the manner in which he has now indicated. He was taken as speaking to the whole debate.


Senator CHANEY —Mr President, I have no wish to canvass your ruling. I seek leave to make a brief explanation.


The PRESIDENT —Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


Senator CHANEY —Thank you, Mr President. I thank the Senate for its indulgence. The Opposition does not support the amendment in the form in which it has now been left. The reason for that has been made clear, but I would like it to be beyond doubt. The Opposition does not regard the amendment in the form in which it now appears as putting any obligation on the Government which is really enforceable against the Government or which gives the Parliament, the Opposition or the Australian people any guarantee that the Government will perform in an appropriate way. The fact is that the decision as to what is authenticated and genuine will be left to this Government. The Opposition can come back to this matter when the New South Wales election is out of the way and we can see whether the Democrats will put their money where their mouths are.