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Wednesday, 18 September 1985
Page: 721

Senator GRIMES (Manager of Government Business)(6.35) —in reply-As to Senator Chaney's wish or hope that I and the Government might accede to his entreaties, I might add that, although I was very kind, placid and peaceful in agreeing that we should recommit this motion, my name is Grimes and not Santa Claus and I will not be acceding to the request that he made. I thank Senator Chaney for pointing out at the end of his speech that what he described at the start of his speech as an arrangement made at the Whips' meeting was something that was no more than mooted at the Whips' meeting. I have again prevailed on my colleague Senator Robertson, our Whip, that in the spirit of peace and good will he should not get up and wax indignant about what happened at the Whips' meeting this morning, which so often happens.

I congratulate Senator Chaney on his speech. Over our relatively short time of about 11 years in this place we have both made speeches like that. We have both heard speeches like that from both sides of this table and I dare say we will again. But I really think it is going just a little far to suggest that in carrying out the normal procedure tomorrow, which we normally do when Senate Estimates committees are on, in not bringing the Senate back for an hour so that the document produced by the Treasurer (Mr Keating) tomorrow on taxes can be brought down in this place is somehow an insult and denigrating the chamber and the Parliament, is really a bit rich. In fact, what would happen tomorrow afternoon is that the statement would be put down and someone would make one speech in reply. What will happen now is that we will all actually go away and read the paper, have a couple of weeks to look at it and digest it. It will be of even greater advantage to honourable senators opposite that they will be able to assess the attitude of people in the community and then they can come back and debate it in a measured, learned, scholarly and thoughtful way. In taking these procedures, we are actually improving the standard of the debate in this place and we are giving the Opposition a chance to consider the statement properly.

I will request my colleagues on this side of the House to support the motion that I have moved. I understand from Senator Chaney's statement that the Australian Democrats will be voting with us and I suppose that is that. I am not here to defend the Democrats against the vilification of Senator Chaney. Even though they are a small party, they can do that themselves. I suggest that the best thing to do is to get this matter out of the way and have the vote now.