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Thursday, 17 October 1996
Page: 4358

Senator HILL (Leader of the Government in the Senate)(10.12 a.m.) —by leave—I just want to put on the record that the general support given to this motion has been very much appreciated by the government. We recognise that the sitting times that we have requested of the Senate are very demanding. We have been through four sitting weeks in a row before, and it is not easy, but it has been done. To be totally fair, it is not just four sitting weeks in a row; if you look at the number of sitting weeks over eight or 10 weeks, it is almost a continuous sitting.

Senator Carr —And estimates.

Senator HILL —Yes, I think that is what Senator Carr is indicating. That puts a strain on senators, their staff, resources and the parliament itself, and we do appreciate that.

Senator Bob Collins —And it is all your fault. That's what you used to say all the time—it is the failure of the government to properly manage its business. Do you remember that line?

Senator HILL —I do. In those circumstances, it applied; in this instance, it is sound planning. The issue is that there is an enormous workload before the Senate, with a new government coming into office with a major reform program, as well as the budget related bills with starting dates at the beginning of next year that we need to get in place. That is just a fact of life.

Nevertheless, I know that this place will not work without the cooperation of all sides. That such cooperation has been prepared to be given is appreciated by the government.