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Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Page: 4749


Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (18:32): As I foreshadowed in my second reading speech, the Greens do not support the amendment proposed by the opposition, because our advice is that the sunset clause would potentially prohibit the making of ongoing contractual arrangements that would take effect beyond the end of the year. This would have an adverse effect on existing programs, potentially curtailing their ability to continue their activities and functions beyond the next six months. Notwithstanding the assurances of Senator Brandis and the coalition that his legal advice is right and the legal advice provided to the Greens is wrong, I am not satisfied it is appropriate to take a risk on that. One of the reasons this legislation has been introduced into the parliament is to create certainty in a climate where there is a great deal of uncertainty about the continued funding of some of these programs. The Greens are not willing to take the risk of an outcome whereby the government's ability to enter into, under existing programs, further contracts that would go beyond the end of the year is jeopardised. For that reason the Greens will not be supporting the opposition amendment.