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Wednesday, 2 April 1980
Page: 1362

Senator GEORGES (Queensland) -There seems to be a feeling that the Opposition has taken considerable time today on this matter. It is a matter of great interest. Of course the Government must accept the responsibility of bringing an important report before the Parliament. Having brought it before the Parliament, it should have facilitated a debate.

Senator Missen - I brought it forward as Chairman of the Committee.

Senator GEORGES - I take it that Senator Missen is not denying that he is part of the Government.

Senator Missen - That was not how I brought forward the report. I did so as Chairman of the Committee.

Senator GEORGES - I commend the honourable senator for so doing. I wonder whether his Whip also commends him. Certainly the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Senator Chaney) is not very happy about it. Nevertheless, I thank Senator Missen for bringing this important report before the Parliament. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has moved a motion to postpone debate on this matter until the next day of sitting. I take it that once that motion is passed the matter will be placed on the Notice Paper and, therefore, what Senator Rae intends to do will be frustrated. In that event, he will have to find another means by which to bring the matter forward for debate.

Senator Missen - It could be withdrawn.

Senator GEORGES -A11 I wish to say is that the Opposition will facilitate further debate on this report and on the various matters mentioned in the report.

Senator CAVANAGH(South Australia)-I seek a ruling from you, Mr President. Would the fact that this matter appeared on the Notice Paper prevent its being the subject of an urgency motion or a matter of public importance?

Senator Chaney - No.

Senator CAVANAGH - I have always accepted the President as the authority on the Standing Orders.

Senator Georges - Let us get a ruling on it because it could be useful in the future.

The PRESIDENT - It is a matter which might be framed in such a way as would permit its being debated in the way in which you suggest.

Senator CAVANAGH - I do not want to block Senator Rae's rights. I think that the matter should be kept alive. If we could attempt to do both -

Senator Rae - My proposed matter of public importance is 'The consideration of Senate committee reports'. That would open up the matter totally. I do not think that debate on the matter would be precluded by this matter being placed on the Notice Paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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