Business: Senate Temporary Orders
Senator Patrick: I rise to indicate that Centre Alliance won't support the suspension, in the interest of the orderly conduct of business. However, if the Greens are successful, we will certainly support the motion. One of the difficulties that Centre Alliance has here, and it's been mentioned by Senator Waters, is that this motion did appear without consultation and was something of a surprise. I fear that, if we don't resolve this, we will have this sort of disorder propagated through sitting weeks. I think that is problematic.
I think we do need to change this part of the business of the Senate. It is taking a long time and it is complicated. It takes a lot of time, particularly for crossbenchers. Small parties are working through all of the motions overnight, trying to work out what our positions will be. It consumes time well beyond what takes place in the chamber. There is a need to have change.
However, the current motion does have some concerning parts. Things like orders for production of documents are a tool for oversight, and we shouldn't really constrain the Senate in relation to that particular function. There are some other issues in the context that, if we were to have a roster system, which would have to be developed, and there is an urgent issue that I wish to raise on behalf of South Australians, it may be that I potentially would have to wait four or five days in order to be able to put a motion to the Senate. If there's a break or a recess in the sittings, it may well flow over to months later. I don't think that's acceptable. I would propose to the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate that they postpone the motion for today and we work over the next four weeks to try to find a reasonable outcome.
In my conversations with the crossbench last night and the Greens, everyone seems to think there is a problem. Everyone wants a solution to it. I actually respect what the government and opposition have said in terms of how this potentially doesn't fully limit some of things that we want to do, but that's not fully explained in the motion. There could be greater clarity in the motion. So I would ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate to consider postponing the motion just for one day, allowing us to consult; let's try to find a solution and work together on this.