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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2464

Senator ROBERT RAY —Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that the House of Representatives has set up a Procedure Committee in order to review the parliamentary procedures in that chamber? Given the legislative chaos that now prevails in this chamber and the obvious ineptitude of the Standing Orders Committee, will the Leader give consideration to setting up a Senate procedure committee?

Senator BUTTON —One would like to give consideration to everything, particularly when it is put by Senator Ray as a constructive suggestion. Because that is so, I will give consideration to it. For what relevance my view is, it probably will have marginal value. It is a matter for the Senate, of course. Senator Ray is a member of the Standing Orders Committee; so he includes himself in the generic description of useless, together with the rest of us. The Committee has had difficulty in grappling with some of the problems with which the Senate has been confronted in the last few weeks. I must say that attempts have been made by the leaders of the three parties to resolve these things. We have particularly tried to keep Senator Chipp and his colleagues in order.

Senator Chipp —Unsuccessfully.

Senator BUTTON —We have been totally unsuccessful in that regard. A letter has been sent by the Clerk of the Senate to the members of the Standing Orders Committee suggesting that we as individuals should address the question of improving the procedures of the Senate. We have a large number of individuals to satisfy in this place in trying to do that. I must say, with the wisdom of hindsight, that the situation is probably no worse this year than it has been every year I have been here. We are making slow progress. It is no worse this year than in any year in which the Government has not had a majority. That is the very distinct difference between the Senate and the House of Representatives.