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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 2096


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (12:35): If there are no other colleagues who wish to contribute, I will close the debate. Thank you—through you, Mr President—to Senator Siewert for acknowledging that we have endeavoured to ensure that the Senate is not sitting during school holidays. I would note Senator Siewert expressing concern that maybe there are not enough sitting days to transact the business required. The only observation I would make in relation to that is that, in a chamber where no one party, including the government, has a majority, management of this place and management of the legislative agenda is a shared responsibility of all parties and groupings that are represented here.

I think the sitting days should be adequate. Whether they are or are not I do not think is a function or will be a function of government management. It will really be a reflection particularly of whether the opposition needlessly and unnecessarily extends the debate from time to time or adopts a cooperative and positive approach, which we did when we were in opposition. So I just remind colleagues that ultimately the management of this place is a shared responsibility.

Certainly, let me acknowledge that Senator Siewert is someone who, as the whip and manager for the Greens, is extremely good to work with and cooperative, and my experience to date with the Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate, Senator Gallagher, has also been the same. I know that there are from time to time others in the respective parties who might not be as cooperatively minded, but I just observe that it really is a responsibility of all of us to manage the business in the time that is available.

Question agreed to.