Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 20 June 1996
Page: 1888

Senator SHORT (Assistant Treasurer) —by leave—The notice of motion standing in the name of Senator Margetts asks that a whole series of questions that was put to the government during the debate on the supply bills be produced to the Senate by immediately after question time today; in other words, in less than six hours. That, quite frankly, is an unreasonable proposition.

I am surprised and a bit disappointed that the Greens (WA) have put that motion. The volume of questions put and the vagueness of definition of some of those questions have made the task of supplying the information in the time required difficult. In fact, to comply fully with the motion would put at risk the integrity of some of the answers that would be provided, because the questions need some checking out.

I want to put on the record that I did speak to the Greens about this a few days ago. I undertook, on behalf of the government, to provide, hopefully, all of the responses that they had requested by the start of next week. I would still stick to that undertaking. I will not call against the formality of the motion today, but I will have to advise the Greens that, whilst we will be able to get a considerable proportion of the responses to meet the request of question time today, it simply will not be possible for us to provide 100 per cent of the responses today. We will do as much as we can today and will provide the balance at the beginning of next week.

On that basis, I am prepared to have the motion go through as formal. But if that is seen by the Greens or anyone else as contravening the motion, then I am afraid that I will have to call it informal. Perhaps the Greens will respond before the motion is put.