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Wednesday, 26 May 1993
Page: 1387

Senator COLLINS (Minister for Transport and Communications) —by leave—By simple definition, now is after Question Time.

Senator Alston —I thought you would say that.

Senator COLLINS —The honourable senator asked. I have been invited by Senator Alston to make a brief response.

Senator Crichton-Browne —You were not invited by anybody.

Senator COLLINS —Yes, I was—by Senator Alston. The remarks were as uncalled for this evening as they were last night. Senator Alston knows full well the difficulty that has been associated with presenting proper copies of these reports for the perusal of all honourable senators. In brief response to what Senator Alston said—and if Senator Alston had not commented I would have made no comment—I am amazed that the department and the printers, whoever they were, have managed to put this volume of material together in the time in which they have.

  Once again, I do not know why I bother, but when I came into the chamber I actually did, out of courtesy, say to Senator Alston that I had earlier today advised him—and I had—that it was highly unlikely, given the time available, that we would be able to present properly bound and printed copies, which make it far easier for senators to read the documents.

  I am not quite sure how, but we have managed to produce properly printed and bound copies of these document, which will make it far easier for senators to read them. I think it has been a fair achievement for the department to provide this volume of documentation to the Senate and for the documents to have been put in the proper form. Of course—and Senator Alston knows this—in accordance with the procedure I have adopted since day one of these sittings, copies have been prepared for Senator Alston, as they have been on every occasion, and I believe those copies are being delivered to Senator Alston's office as I speak.