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Wednesday, 17 November 1993
Page: 2990

Senator REID (11.19 a.m.) —The opposition will not be supporting the suspension of standing orders to enable this motion to be debated this morning. I think what has been said so far indicates pretty clearly that there is a great deal in the motion to be discussed and it ought to be done at a proper time. I know that a lot of my colleagues would want to participate in a debate on this topic. Several points of view could be expressed on the motion. I think that a lot of people—I am not a cynic myself—are very curious, indeed, as to how the suspension of the program came about at the time that it did. I have no doubt that people would want to explore that in the context of this debate.

  I think the motion was put on the Notice Paper on the last day of sitting and it was again on the Notice Paper yesterday. It was not dealt with yesterday—it was not declared formal; it was not postponed.

Senator Coulter —Senator Harradine was not here.

Senator REID —I know that Senator Harradine was not here—I understand that—but the motion was not dealt with. If Senator Coulter had been intending to bring it on this morning, one would have expected him yesterday, at the placing of business, to have sought to adjourn the motion until today. That would have alerted everybody as to what would be happening. But, having not been dealt with yesterday, I think it came as a considerable surprise to a number of people that it would be debated this morning, and that is unfortunate.

  The proper place for this motion to be dealt with is under general business. I imagine that one day Senator Coulter will bring it up under general business and we will then have an opportunity to debate it in full. At the moment we are pressured by the government's program, which is clearly disorganised and running late. That has to be dealt with. We are under the threat of late night sittings and things of that nature. We will not be supporting the suspension of standing orders this morning, but we recognise the substance of the debate which should take place at some time.