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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 1451


The PRESIDENT - I thought that with the indulgence of the Senate I would mention before I called on questions without notice that I have been struggling for some time to see whether it is possible to alter Standing Orders in relation to question time. Basically, I am told by the traditionalists that question time is a period for the obtaining of information. On the other hand it has been mentioned to me that that is quite untrue; it is a blood sport. Coming as I do from and representing the State of Victoria, I am used to a game played down there which the umpire is supposed to keep moving. However, I understand that there are others addicted to a more ancient and perhaps more sterile form of activity in which scrums and line-outs seem to interrupt everything. There is one characteristic of the Hippodrome in Melbourne and that is that armed police have to escort the umpire off the field at the end of the game. I sometimes feel like that here.

About 20 per cent of the Senate's time is taken up with questions without notice but, whereas I had been able previously to keep the ball moving to the tune of about 34 questions in the time occupied by questions without notice, in the last 2 weeks the number has dropped back to the middle twenties. Obviously that is the fault of the umpire.







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