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Government Senator answers to criticism on debate time constraints

Economy Minister Kim Wilson has hit back at claims Government is not providing adequate time for debate on the budget in the Senate.

The Senator said the Opposition was responsible for scheduling debates on the Budget, and they had not allocated enough time to both cover the material and pose questions.

In the Senate on Wednesday, Opposition Senate Leader Jeanne Atherden criticised Government for leaving four minutes to respond to the Budget of the Ministry of Health.

She called it a “deliberate attempt so that questions are not asked,” saying the Government Senators should better summarise their information.

Responding on Friday, Sen Wilson, noting that the debate on Justice was scheduled to last 90 minutes and cover seven headings, said: “It's totally unrealistic. It took my colleague in the other House three hours.

“I'm tempted to just move the heads but I'm afraid I would be accused of keeping things out of the public.”

But Sen Atherden said the comparison between the House of Assembly and the Senate was unfair because, while the Opposition was only alloted 22 hours in which to schedule the debate in the Senate, the House of Assembly had 56 hours to cover the same material.

Sen Wilson was able to complete the summary of the seven events in around 75 minutes, allowing UBP Senator Michael Dunkley 15 minutes to respond.

While there was not enough time remaining to answer questions following Sen Dunkley's statement, Sen Wilson said she would answer all the questions posed in writing.

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Published March 28, 2011 at 10:24 am (Updated March 28, 2011 at 10:24 am)

Government Senator answers to criticism on debate time constraints

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