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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 42


Senator GRIMES (Manager of Government Business)(4.00) —in reply-Normally I would not exercise my right of reply but, quite frankly, as a result of the stupid contribution that we have just heard, I must. First of all, Senator Walters forgets that there are people in this place other than members of parliament. There are many people in this place other than members of parliament and their situation must also be considered. They also work consistent hours and also eat dinner. Let me tell Senator Walters what happened rather than have put in the Hansard what comes out of her fevered imagination. The arrangement to sit until 7.30 tonight was originally made in the House of Representatives by all parties there. That was where the first arrangement was made.

We were originally thinking of extending the dinner break by half an hour to make it easier for people to go out to get meals but the other House decided to sit until 7.30 and we thought it fairly sensible to sit for the same hours on this side. I spoke to Senator Chaney before I spoke to Senator Chipp, so Senator Chipp had not agreed to this before Senator Chaney agreed to it. That suggestion came straight out of Senator Walters's well-known imagination. As with so many of the things she says, it was a lie. The simple fact is that there is a dispute. As to whether the dispute is outside of the provisions of the prices and incomes accord, as I am sure it is, this Government's record on union claims outside the accord need not be questioned by Senator Walters. We do not agree to claims outside of the accord and, as it happens, we do not agree with this claim.

We decided that the sensible thing to do was to extend this sitting by an hour and for the House then to rise. This would mean that we would lose one and a half hours. That is the sensible way to cope with this situation and the Opposition side of the Parliament agreed with it. The simple fact is that it is a sensible solution, not only for members of parliament but also for everyone who works in this place. It is a pity that Senator Walters, in her insatiable desire to get headlines on puerile subjects, came in here and made the stupid remarks and attacks that she did. It is an example of how her brain works and of her lack of neurons. I urge honourable senators to support the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.