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Wednesday, 29 May 1996
Page: 1312

Senator PANIZZA —by leave—Senator Wheelwright mentioned during his delivery that when he first came here the taking note of answers given in question time was mainly for the opposition. When in opposition we took that to be it. That was our chance to respond to the answers or the mudslinging we got from the ministers. But it soon got away from that. The first person to abuse the system—and I told him across the chamber—was Senator Schacht when he was the minister for customs. Senator McKiernan got on board quite regularly as well.

Senator Kernot —Is this a short statement?

Senator PANIZZA —Yes, it is a short statement. When it ceases being short, Senator Kernot, the Acting Deputy President will tell me, not you. That was the situation. It was started by Senator Schacht, then Senator McKiernan and others continued. It got back to the situation where it was virtually from one side to the other. That is how it evolved and that is how it is going to remain as far as I am concerned, because you are the ones who started it.

Senator Murphy —What a load of rubbish.

Senator PANIZZA —Senator Murphy, you are always on it. I am glad you reminded me. Senator Schacht, Senator McKiernan and Senator Murphy were the chief ones. So it evolved to go from one side to the other. That is as much as I am going to say, and it will stay that way until the procedure committee changes it.

If Senator Kernot feels she misses out on this, I suggest she go through the same procedures as everyone else. If she wants to take note of an answer, she should put her hand up.

Senator McKiernan —On a point of order, Mr Acting Deputy President: if this arrogance that we are seeing from the other side continues, there will be other points of order called in this place to ensure that that side is forced to listen to the arrogance and witness it in the same way as we are witnessing it now. I am referring, of course, to quorum calls.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Colston) —I am hopeful that this will be the last request for leave.

Senator PANIZZA —If Senator Kernot wants to take part in taking note of answers, she should remain in the chamber, use the same procedures as everyone else, hand up her request to the President like we on both sides always do and she will get the call like everybody else.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —As I indicated, I will see that Senator Kernot's remarks are passed on to the President.