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Thursday, 20 October 1983
Page: 2049

Mr SINCLAIR(6.01) —I will say a few words in response to the contribution by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Lionel Bowen). It is true, as the saying goes, that there are horses for courses. The Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) might perform better running in the Melbourne Cup than he performs in the House. I am afraid that his performance here more often than not leaves a great deal to be desired.

Mr Anthony —But he does not have the staying power for the Melbourne Cup. He is only a sprinter.

Mr SINCLAIR —His stamina might be found to be wanting. I suspect that we will find that out next time we go to the polls. I do not think anybody would expect the aberation of that short term 70 per cent popularity result to survive very long. After all, I suspect that many people do not know him as well as we do, and I suspect that members of Caucus might progressively be getting to know him even better. We accept the changes put forward by the Deputy Prime Minister. However, I believe that a number of members would prefer not be present between about 2.30 and 3 p.m. The adjustments suggested by the Deputy Prime Minister would seem to meet the convenience of most members. I trust that, whether or not there is a quorum a sufficient number of members will attend in the House to enable the proceedings of the Parliament to continue in spite of that other event.

The obvious problem for the future does not so much concern the events of that day. The sitting hours should be arranged so that they reasonably meet the requirements of most members. I have raised separately with the Deputy Prime Minister the possibility of some coincidence of school holidays around Australia with the weeks when the Parliament is not sitting. I know that the Minister is seeking to accommodate that wish. Obviously, there are difficulties because school holidays occur at different times in different States. But many members would like the opportunity during the year to spend some part of the school holidays with their families. I trust that it might be possible for those arrangements to be made. The Opposition does not object to the motion moved by the Deputy Prime Minister.

Question resolved in the affirmative.