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Thursday, 15 October 2015
Page: 7725


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Government) (09:31): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: I think there might be a process issue here. I do not think the rationale or detail of this particular proposition has been circulated. I am not aware that it has been circulated. It makes it difficult to form a view as to whether or not something should happen if details and context about the particular proposition have not been circulated.

The PRESIDENT: I think that is a fair proposition. My understanding is that these matters are discussed informally at whips meetings.

Senator FIFIELD: At the time of the whips meeting last night I do not think this had yet been a proposition. When something happens overnight and it has not been circulated to senators, it makes it extremely difficult to form a view as to whether something should happen or not. That is a bit of an ongoing problem with this particular procedure, which has been in place for a relatively short period of time. These things come up first thing in the morning—although not always—with advice to senators about the reason or the rationale.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Siewert, do you want to make some comments on this matter?