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Thursday, 13 May 1993
Page: 620


Senator FAULKNER (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (9.19 p.m.) —I want to make it absolutely clear that the Government does not accept the argument that Chairs of any committees of the Senate should be shared amongst non-government senators. I do not intend to debate this at length, but it is certainly is contrary to the practices of this chamber. I believe that the amendment moved by Senator Kernot will be adopted by the chamber. One has to know when one is done in this game and I know that we are struggling in relation to this matter.

  I will not prolong the debate, but I do want to place on record that the Government does not accept this principle and it has never been accepted in this chamber or in this Parliament before tonight. The Government certainly will never embrace such a proposition. I draw attention to the sorts of comments that we have heard from the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Hill).

  For example, the Senate Select Committee on the Loans Council, to use its short name, or the Senate Select Committee on the Functions, Powers and Operation of the Australian Loans Council, to use its long name, is not a select committee into the Victorian loans matter as he described it. I think that is indicative of what those opposite are really on about in relation to these select committees and seeing the Chairs of these committees fall into the hands of non-Government senators.

  As I have said before, it is pretty clear what the fate of Senator Kernot's amendment will be, but I implore any open-minded and objective senator to consider what the consequences of voting for that amendment will be. I ask the Senate to support the motion as it stands in the name of Senator Sherry.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Motion, as amended, agreed to.

  Debate resumed.