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Thursday, 19 September 1996
Page: 3598

Senator KEMP (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Security)(10.53 a.m.) —I will just make a few brief remarks. I notice the assurances Senator Carr has given that the opposition wishes to cooperate and wishes to ensure the effective running of this Senate. We welcome that statement and we will look anxiously and eagerly to see whether it has substance.

In relation to sessional orders, perhaps it is worth putting on the record the nature of what has happened so that people who may have listened to Senator Carr are not misled. We have some sessional orders which are working comparatively well. There is some experience in working those sessional orders, so the chamber itself is working well under those sessional orders.

Can those sessional orders be improved? The answer is yes. Is there a proposal to improve the sessional orders? The answer is yes. The proposal to improve the sessional orders has in fact been agreed to by every party in this chamber—the government, the opposition, the Greens, the Independence and the Australian Democrats. As far as I am aware, there is general agreement that we can improve on the current sessional orders.

So why haven't we got these new sessional orders? The answer simply is that the Labor Party is not prepared to allow the new sessional orders to come in without agreement on a range of other issues. If we distinguish the sessional orders from the other issues, there is complete agreement, as far as I am aware. You have loaded onto the proposal to bring in the new sessional orders a number of other issues and those issues, as you well know, have not been resolved at this stage.

The motion before the chamber is to continue with the sessional orders, which are currently being used in this chamber and which are currently working comparatively well. We would prefer to bring in the new sessional orders, which we think would be an improvement. But I wait for you, Senator Carr, to come around to my office or to give me a call and say that you want to speak with me. What I want to hear from you is that the Labor Party will now accept these new sessional orders, which you fully agree should be brought in. At that moment I will come into the chamber, I will move them and they will come in. As far as my own side is concerned, the cooperation I am receiving is excellent.

Question resolved in the affirmative.