Friday, 2 June 2006
Business of Seanad.
We stated earlier that we would allow extra time on Second Stage if necessary, but it ended quickly. We are now on Committee Stage which is due to end at 6.45 p.m., according to the Order of Business. Therefore, I suggest that we adjourn at 7 p.m.
On a point of order, a number of Senators, myself in particular, did not have an opportunity to put forward a full argument on Second Stage.
A guillotine was applied in the Lower House and it would not be appropriate to apply one here also. It is essential that I get the opportunity to discuss the amendment I tabled. I object to the Order of Business and appeal to the Leader of the House to allow Senators to debate the amendments and the Minister of State to respond to the specific queries raised.
I am only fulfilling what I said on the Order of Business. I have a right and an obligation to do so. I am also very conscious that we do not operate a guillotine in this House. I operated a guillotine once, on the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, and I learned my lesson. I think 7.15 p.m. is appropriate and if Senators wish to allow Senator Cox all that time to speak, they should give way to her. She has tabled an amendment and is entitled to be heard.
I raised this matter on the Order of Business and I appreciate the Leader's intervention. I was adamant that a guillotine should not be applied today, that every Senator should have an opportunity to speak and that all the amendments would be dealt with. We are making progress and have almost completed our deliberations on amendment No. 2. There are eight amendments in total.
It is important, and the Minister of State has already made this point, that the House should debate the amendments so that if, at some stage in the future, the Supreme Court or High Court wants to establish what the House meant, the debate itself can be consulted. Members of the other House did not have the opportunity to have a full debate today. I do not think these proceedings will go on until 10 p.m. but at least another hour is needed.
I will do that but it is important that I stick to the Order of Business, as agreed earlier. That is why I am making this intervention. I said earlier that we would play it as it goes. I ask other Senators to be aware that Senator Cox wants a lot of time.
Senator Brian Hayes has made a point about discussing all the amendments but I wish to speak on a section of the Bill to which none of the amendments refers. Can I take it from what the Leader of the House has said that I may do so?