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Friday, 17 December 1993
Page: 5049

Senator TAMBLING (9.16 p.m.) —The thing that I find abhorrent about the proposed sitting schedule is that we were confronted tonight with a series of amendments by the government, and just five minutes ago with some extra ones by the Greens, and that this timetable now does not give us the opportunity to consult with our constituents and with the interest groups around Australia in their normal working hours and in their normal working arrangements so that they can respond.

  I have not yet had time to digest the amendment that the Greens have just put on the table, but I note that it relates very importantly to the fishing industry and to offshore and onshore interests, and I know that this is an issue that has to be debated comprehensively. How do we deal with checking this through the departments of fisheries? Senator Evans walked in here at 5 o'clock or 6 o'clock tonight and threw down a whole series of issues that have constitutional import for the states. It is their right and their prerogative to give us advice, which should happen on a routine, normal working day. If Senator Evans had given us those amendments this morning at 9 o'clock, we would have had the opportunity to discuss them with our state colleagues and get advice, but we cannot do that on a Saturday. I find that totally objectionable.

Senator Brownhill —You can't do it on a Sunday either.

Senator TAMBLING —We certainly cannot do it on a Sunday. We should be working in order to meet the proper requirements. This proposal would mean that people throughout Australia would be called in for additional work at undue times and with undue inconvenience. It is a shocking and disgraceful abrogation of responsibility on the part of the government.