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Thursday, 19 September 1985
Page: 763

Senator MICHAEL BAUME(11.38) —I do not want to hold up the Senate, Mr President, knowing that it has other work to do, in a different form. Last Thursday, Mr President, you advised the Senate that it was hoped that the Hansards of Senate Estimates Committees would be available on Monday. The Hansard for the Senate Estimates Committee relating to defence has not yet become available. This morning I could get no indication of when it may become available. This is, of course, of some significance, because there were some remarkably interesting responses to Opposition questioning in that Committee, the details of which it is important to me to have available. This seems to be an unreasonable delay, and as I understand it, Mr President, it relates to the introduction of new equipment at the Government Printing Office which is causing trouble.

This new equipment is also incompatible with existing equipment that enabled speedy retrieval of Hansard references if any honourable senator wanted to pursue a subject and to see the occasions on which it had been raised during debates here. As this new equipment is incompatible, that facility is not available this session, and it seems a significant withdrawal of a very useful service.

On all these matters, Mr President, I think it appropriate that some kind of protest be made. I should be most grateful for anything that you could do, not necessarily to make the computer work, but to encourage perhaps a more energetic attempt by the authorities involved to make the computer work.