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Senators complain they aren't working more

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 Belinda Merhab

Crossbench senator Derryn Hinch reckons taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth from their politicians.

Senator Hinch and the Greens have taken issue with the federal government's parliamentary sitting calendar for 2017, which has the Senate meeting for only 15 weeks

"I think it's a disgrace," Senator Hinch told parliament on Tuesday.

"Out there, what they call the 'real world', we are seen to be only sitting for 15 weeks - the general perception is we don't work long enough.

"We are well-paid for what we do... I think we should be sitting longer."

Greens senator Rachel Siewert is concerned there wasn't enough time for parliament to work through significant issues.

She warned the government would run out of time and later seek to extend hours or guillotine debate on bills because they don't have enough time to prosecute their arguments.

Manager of government business Mitch Fifield said it was the responsibility of all senators to manage the business in the time available.

There's plenty of work senators do when parliament isn't sitting, such as taking part in inquiries on issues or legislation as part of the Senate committee process, or scrutinising government spending at regular estimates hearings.

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