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Partner Object Hidden?

Via the sforce explorer when I log in as a standard sales rep the Partner object is hidden. Is this normal?
IIRC, Partner is the base table, you have to have view all data to see this object because all of the FK's it points to have their own sharing rules, so applying sharing to the Partner rows directly is to expensive. But, there are account views and opportunity views of this data, which should be viewable by non-admins in the AccountPartner & OpportunityPartner tables.
Simon thank your for your reply and what you say makes sense.  Here's the backgound and purpose to which is why I ask.

From a business process stand point I was trying to make it easier for reps in the creation of a sales order. We want to take all the opportunity data and pass it over to an order object where additional fields are required.  We sell a two teir model and will have on an order up to 3 different accounts/address.

To help reps not have to re-enter the address information of those resellers I created a lookup function to query that Opp find the partners to ask the rep which of these partners do you want to ship to/ bill to.  This starts to enforce and reward those who put partners on their opps a simple way to pick the ship to / bill to.  Now what we'll have to do is just do full look up on accounts.

Does that make sense?