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Tuesday, 15 December 1992
Page: 5115


Senator ROBERT RAY (Minister for Defence) (2.28 a.m.) —Senator McMullan's motion should be unnecessary. We are still meeting at 2.30 a.m. If this had occurred at 9.30 p.m. I think the Opposition would have shown Senator McMullan the same courtesy as I showed the Opposition when five of its members—


Senator Macdonald —We are not interested in history.


Senator ROBERT RAY —History is important in this chamber because a lot of our behaviour is based on precedent. Is Senator Macdonald saying that, if at any time through some misadventure this did occur, a major amendment to a Bill would have been affected? We recommitted that motion without the Opposition having to go through the requirement of a contingent notice of motion or anything else. We offered to recommit it and then we lost that division.


Senator Macdonald —Should he be talking to me, Mr Deputy President?


Senator ROBERT RAY —I am talking to the contingent notice of motion that Senator McMullan has moved. Is Senator Macdonald saying that we were mugs two or three years ago to offer them that courtesy and that that will never be shown to this side? Ultimately what we want in this chamber, I think, is to reflect the views of the chamber and of the majority in the chamber, whichever way it goes. I think anyone would concede that the previous division did not do that. So I cannot see why we have to go through all the process at this time of night when a simple offer from the Opposition to recommit the motion could be made without any of this fuss, in the same way as it was made two or three years ago.