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Thursday, 27 June 1996
Page: 2444

Senator ROBERT RAY(7.31 p.m.) —This is an ideal opportunity for a backbench senator to make an unctuous speech on the failure of the Manager of Government Business (Senator Kemp) and to point out how far he has mucked it up. But I will not.

Senator Hill —Have you heard those speeches before?

Senator ROBERT RAY —Yes. I know them word for word. Senator Kemp has let the cat out of the bag. I thought that he wanted to get his particular way because of something to do with the Senate; but it has now become apparent that the stick has been put to him by the people over in the House of Representatives, who do not like waiting on the Senate's pleasure. That is a pleasure that they had for 13 years, and I do not want to deprive them of that any more. They can sit there waiting right through tomorrow, as far as I am concerned, because they were forced to so often.

I think the problem with what Senator Kemp has had to say really goes to the question of when we are going to start the valedictories. Do not think that we on this side are that keen about valedictories. We are never as sentimental as your side about those particular things, and we have other methods of farewelling people that are far less tortur ous than the valedictory system in the Senate. In general, if you took a survey of the Senate, you would probably find that half of the people in their heart of hearts would say that they want to disappear when the valedictories are on and go out and have a nice meal. You are threatening us, Senator Kemp, with actually bringing on business to drag us back here, and that is what we are objecting to.

It is less serious on this occasion than it could be, inasmuch as we know that you have from nine o'clock tomorrow morning until 3.45 p.m. Frankly, if you do not complete all your business tomorrow, including this, in that time, you are never going to. At least one item—if you do not complete it it will not be our fault and it will not be yours—I suspect will be talked out. All the rest will be done tomorrow morning. So what the Senate is voting on now is really this decision: do we start valedictories at a reasonable hour now and finish them by about 10 o'clock, or do we accede to Senator Kemp's view that we will have interspersed government business amongst all this? Everyone has to hang around for something we could easily do between nine and ten tomorrow morning.

I think the argument is overwhelming to at least get up at a reasonable hour. I have never been accused of being someone dripping with sentimentality, and I am not doing that yet, but if you look around the chamber you see the departing senators poking their heads in the door. I think we should at least let them have all of that out of the road. Then the only choice is whether you go on to government business or not later tonight, which will be about 10 o'clock. I think that is foolish. You can get rid of all the rest of the formalities built up tonight between nine and ten in the morning. Then, I understand, there is one other major piece of legislation to consider. We do not know whether that will be talked out or not.

It seems to me that we should support Senator Carr's motion. I do not think the motion that Senator Kemp has foreshadowed moving, Mr Acting Deputy President, can be put because it is a contradiction of this one. Really, they should throw the dice on this one and get on with the rest.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.