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Thursday, 27 May 1993
Page: 1415

Senator ROBERT RAY (Minister for Defence) (9.26 a.m.) —Mr President, the Government was given absolutely no warning of this, in spite of the normal Whips meeting and everything else.

Senator Kernot —I am told that our Whip did advise you.

Senator ROBERT RAY —I am told that we were not advised that this was to be debated this morning.

Senator Kernot —She rang from our party room in our presence this morning.

Senator ROBERT RAY —That is certainly advice that I have not received, so the move to suspend Standing Orders today came as a complete surprise to me. If the matter was so urgent—I am going only to the urgency of it—I wonder why it was moved on the 13th day of a 14-day sitting period. Also, I think we would all have some considerable doubt as to the legality of this Bill, being a Bill dealing with taxation originating in the Senate. For that reason alone, we will not be supporting its discussion here until we can consider that matter further.

  We are going to go through the Budget process this year and, on 17 August, bring in a Budget according to how we see the economy best going, not how the Democrats necessarily see it going. I am not talking about the merit of Senator Kernot's proposal, but it is not going to help in that process. It is not going to go anywhere. We are just wasting the Senate's time today. If she wanted to have a discussion on this, a more appropriate route would have been to discuss it by way of a matter of urgency, a matter of public importance, or whatever, not by some sort of stunt piece of legislation.