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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 4284

Senator CHRIS EVANS (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) (11:14 AM) —Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement which is really in the form of a question to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

The PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator CHRIS EVANS —I think that among all the confusion and delaying this morning the Senate has become a bit lost in the processes. I want to ask the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate if he would make clear to the Senate what legislation the opposition—and, I suppose, Senator Fielding as well, as he has been in the cart with the opposition throughout these debates on processes—are prepared to allow the government to deal with in this session, because, having now defeated any prospect of us dealing with the CPRS, we recognise that—

Senator Cormann —You just agreed to defer it!

Senator CHRIS EVANS —We are waiting for your backdown speech on alcopops, Senator Cormann. We have a request to deal with urgent legislation—legislation which the opposition has said all week is urgent—but we currently have no guarantee, apart from comments by Senator Parry earlier in the week, that they would deal with the legislation. Under the current hours available to us in legislation, we will not deal—

Opposition senators interjecting—

Senator CHRIS EVANS —Is there any chance of you controlling your backbenchers, Senator Minchin—or have you lost complete control?

Senator Ian Macdonald —If you sat down, we could get on with it.

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Evans is entitled to be heard in silence.

Senator CHRIS EVANS —We have the situation where, effectively, the opposition has prevented the CPRS bill being brought on for debate this week. I accept that result. We disagree strongly; but we accept that that is the view of the Senate. We are now in a position where we have urgent bills—budget bills and other bills—that we want passed this session. At the moment, on the current hours, we will not get those passed. I ask the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate to indicate to the Senate which bills they are prepared to consider and whether they will consider extra hours to carry bills that we say are urgent and which they have said all week are urgent. (Time expired)