Senate debates

Thursday, 8 October 2020



9:31 am

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I remind senators the question may be put on any of the proposals at the request of any senator. There being none, Senator Urquhart.

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I just wanted to raise an issue: I understand there was a ballot for the select committee on vaping to be held today. The government whip and I had an agreement we would do that after prayers. I have now been led to believe that it is scheduled for 11.45. We are very disappointed with that given that I have indicated to all our colleagues on this side that it would be held at that time. Now people have other commitments, things are scheduled and it's very difficult to pull people out of other issues at 11.45, when there was an agreement we would have it immediately after prayers.

9:32 am

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I acknowledge what Senator Urquhart has said, that there had been an understanding that the preference was for the ballot to happen immediately after prayers. It is the government's position that we would prefer that to happen at 11.45. I acknowledge what Senator Urquhart said in regards to commitments of senators. They are commitments that all senators in the chamber have, so 11.45 would be the government's preferred position.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I might make the observation, if I could: 11.45 is a time that most senators probably would keep free, because the bells tend to ring for that hour, with the discovery of formal business and other matters. I was only made aware it was likely to be 11.45.

9:33 am

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

We have difficulties in the timing. At 11.45, we only have an hour to deal with a lot of business in the chamber and we often miss out on motions because we run out of time, so this will also take further time away from our ability to deal with selection of bills and motions in the time frame.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Well, my point is: I don't have any unilateral authority here to order a ballot. So absent there being a procedural matter brought to the attention of the Senate, I will call on the Clerk to call on business.