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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 3905

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (5:20 PM) —I seek leave to amend the motion standing in my name relating to that objection to:

Omit all words after “That” and substitute “the following proposed amendment to standing order 175 be referred to the Procedure Committee for consideration and report by 7 September 2009:

Paragraph (3) to read “Paragraph (2) does not apply—

paragraph (2) being that no person other than a senator or an officer be allowed in the chamber—

in respect of a senator breastfeeding an infant, or, at the discretion of the President, a senator caring for infant briefly, provided the business of the Senate is not disrupted.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bernardi)—Before we continue with that, Senator Brown, leave has been requested. Is leave granted?

Senator Parry —Mr Acting Deputy President, on a point of clarification before we consent to leave, which we are certainly inclined to do: is this still a dissent motion, or is this now taking the form of another motion?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Bob Brown has sought leave to make an amendment which would make it a reference to the Procedures Committee. Is leave granted?

Senator Parry —This is quite important, because the original motion was from Senator Brown, dissenting from the President’s ruling. Is this now no longer a motion dissenting from the President’s ruling? That is the first point of clarification.

Senator BOB BROWN —It would be if the amendment that I propose were to be adopted. Until that point we are still, effectively, debating a dissent motion. If I can help the leader, the intention of this amendment is effectively to withdraw the dissent motion and replace it with a reference to the committee.

Senator Ferguson —On a point of clarification: I wonder why Senator Brown did not withdraw his dissent motion and seek leave to move a separate motion.

Senator Chris Evans —Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I think Senator Brown is seeking to amend the motion so as to refer the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Procedure in the place of a dissent motion. You could have an argument about whether that is the best way of achieving it, but effectively that will be the result if it is supported. I can indicate on behalf of the government that it will be supporting the amended version. We would not support a dissent motion. I think this is a way of getting to that point, even if it is a little clumsy procedurally—that is not a criticism, Senator Brown. I think we will end up, if leave is granted, at the right spot.

Senator Parry —I indicate that we will support the change of the nature of the motion on the understanding that we are not debating a dissent motion on a ruling of the President.

Leave granted.