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Wednesday, 19 April 1972
Page: 1210

The PRESIDENT - Yesterday Senator McLaren asked me a complicated question which I undertook to consider. Honourable senators will recollect that Senator McLaren centred his question upon some statistics I quoted to the Senate as to the number of questions asked and answered in each chamber. My reason for quoting these figures was to reassure honourable senators, if reassurance was necessary, that quantitatively the Senate had ample opportunity of examining Ministers as to Government policy and administration.

The second matter is that I wish to state in unequivocal terms that procedures, qualitative references and quantitative statistics are a matter for each House to analyse. No chamber should seek to reflect on either House in any way. I shall resist this either in the Senate or in another place. Thirdly, I am aware of the relevant standing order as to questions but I am aware also that a Presiding Officer must take into account the 'sense' of the chamber as it exists. Accordingly, I think there are times when it may be appropriate for me to suggest that question time might be concluded and the Business of the Day proceeded with.

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