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Friday, 30 March 1984
Page: 968

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(10.31) —As has been indicated, the Government will not oppose this motion despite the fact that we could, as the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Chipp, has said, prevent the suspension of the Standing Orders. I wish to make a couple of points . The first is that quite clearly the Attorney-General, Senator Gareth Evans, who represents the Minister for Defence (Mr Scholes) in this place, cannot make a detailed reply this morning on the steps taken by the Government to keep the document secure. I am sure that no one would reasonably expect him to do so. Of course, we will be taking steps to address that matter, but to expect Senator Evans to make a detailed reply on that is wrong. Secondly, I put it to Senator Chipp and others that it would not be possible to have a comprehensive debate on a subject of such importance which has really just come to light. Senator Evans intended to make a statement to this chamber. He will now make that statement as a result of the motion. I expect that the statement is as detailed as it can be now and any response should await proper detailed examination of the whole affair. As I say, the Government will not oppose the motion to suspend Standing Orders.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Ministerial Statement