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Thursday, 6 May 1993
Page: 224


Senator COULTER (11.05 a.m.) —I want to make only one point, and that is that anybody listening to Senator Faulkner would have seen the most perfect example of the arrogance of executive government. What we have here is a Minister of the Government saying, `We cannot debate this matter now because we, the Government, with our largess have given you this time and you should use that time'. The decision to debate any matter for consideration, whether it be a Bill, a motion or anything at all, is the preserve of this Senate and not the preserve of the executive government or any Minister of the executive government.

  As Senator Bell has said, this issue is an important issue. I think the Opposition agrees that this issue is a very important issue. There is an agreement in relation to the importance of this issue because it impacts very adversely on 86,000 pensioners who happen to hold shares. It is an urgent matter, and I would remind honourable senators that it is well within the capability of this Senate to determine that this is an urgent matter and that it will deal with it now and not when the Government wants to deal with it. I simply stress to Opposition senators that they also have a stake in ensuring that this Senate remains supreme and that its functions and its operations are not subverted by the executive government or by any particular Minister dictating the terms under which we shall debate or shall not debate certain issues.

  Question put:

  That the motion ( Senator Patterson's) be agreed to