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Wednesday, 4 December 1985
Page: 2924


Senator PUPLICK(4.34) —I rise to support Senator Crichton-Browne's amendment. As my understanding is that the time allotted for this debate is due to expire in about three minutes, can the Minister for Resources and Energy (Senator Gareth Evans) indicate whether an opportunity might be provided before we rise, for a vote to be taken. I hope that is the correct method, otherwise-


Senator Gareth Evans —Sort out your priorities. It took three years to get this sorted out.


Senator PUPLICK —I well recall being in this chamber when Senator Evans managed to detain it for more than an hour, as a member of the then committee reporting on the new and permanent Parliament House, because the matter was, in his view, of such enormous significance that he thought it necessary to seek an extension of time to tell us about all of his views on the importance of the aesthetic design of the building, about the architects and about all the work that he had put into the whole thing. I am not prepared to accept that Senator Evans finds it inconvenient to have matters decided now, because when he wants to have matters decided he believes that the Senate should make whatever time is available for him to express his views. Yet he believes that nobody else should be accorded the same courtesy. Under those circumstances I would not be prepared to take the opportunity of moving that the question be put, but rather I shall continue the remarks which I wish to make in support of Senator Crichton-Browne's amendment and in support of the ideas behind it.

I think in any institution which has certain values those values tend to be reflected in structures and in forms. Sometimes those forms are particular verbal forms in which motions are put; sometimes they are the structures of the legal processes, such as whether judges dress in a particular fashion or whether cases are conducted in a particular fashion. One of the fundamental reflections of the operation and the underlying value of parliamentary institutions has been the physical presence which surrounds the debate and the way in which it takes place. What is currently proposed in the recommendations of the architects and designers would, I believe, lead to some fundamental changes which the majority of honourable senators would not believe to be desirable. I believe that the motion as moved by Senator Crichton-Browne is more likely to preserve the reflection of the traditions and values of a deliberative chamber and House of review. He mentioned in his motion the use of the traditional red colour, whatever description is given to it-I think it is Westminster red. For Senator Coates's edification, I take that to be the colour of the older leather chairs in this place-


Senator Coates —What about your Leader's chair?


Senator PUPLICK —I am not responsible for the avant-garde taste of my Leader. I am simply making some comment about the particular view. This is not a matter on which the Opposition has a party view, and when it comes to any vote on this, it will be a free vote. Mr Deputy President, may I seek leave to continue my remarks.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —There is no need. The time allotted under sessional order for this debate has now expired.


Senator Puplick —Is it possible under Standing Orders for me to move for the resumption of the debate?


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The debate will automatically remain on the Notice Paper and will come up when ordered under General Business.


Senator Puplick —Do the Standing Orders enable me to move that the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for Friday of this week?


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —It is within Standing Orders if you wish to do so.

Motion (by Senator Puplick) agreed to:

That the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for Friday, 6 December 1985.