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Monday, 11 November 1985
Page: 1947

Senator PETER RAE —by leave-I hope that tomorrow the matter about which you have just spoken, Mr President, which was raised by Senator Tate, will be referred again to the Senate Privileges Committee for consideration as to the timing of the bringing of charges for what can only be called minor offences under State legislation. The courts charged with dealing with such matters should have regard to the timing of the sitting of this chamber. I believe it should at least be considered by the Privileges Committee and perhaps made known to the courts that the Senate does not expect to have its members detained from performing their duty in this place while they adhere to the court's program in appearing on some minor charge under the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act or similar legislation. It seems to me to be puerile in the extreme and something which ought to be referred to and considered by the Privileges Committee and made plain to the courts of Australia, both Federal and State. This chamber should not be treated in the flippant way in which, apparently, it runs some risk of being treated if the information which you have been given so far, Mr President, turns out to be correct.

The PRESIDENT —In respect of the matter which Senator Peter Rae has just raised, the honourable senator will realise that any matter coming before the Senate is not a matter for me, but a matter for the Senate to propose. I am told that on the last occasion on which this matter arose, again in relation to Senator Georges, the particular matter to which Senator Rae has referred was drawn to the attention of the magistrate. I am told that the Clerk of the Senate also drew the matter to the attention of Senator Georges's solicitor this afternoon.