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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 77

Senator CROWLEY (Minister for Family Services) (6.42 p.m.) —I cannot accept the opposition amendment because I am of a similar view to that spelt out by Senator Lees. It would be interesting to define exactly what is being committed versus what has been committed. Is an ongoing practice of fraud by a doctor seeing different patients a different series of crimes or the one crime, or fraud if it is not a crime? While the 60 days in the Democrats' amendment may be a bit tight, the sense of it is to put a restriction on an open-ended `has been' back forever and to deal with a realistic view of what has got to be the time taken to follow up and, with restrictions of this bill, too, of how to behave sensibly and appropriately.

  It is proper that we protect the civil liberties of all citizens. But at the same time it is very proper to consider that we are, under this bill, looking at protecting the civil liberties of taxpayers whose money is being squandered under fraudulent practice in this area. I believe the government will find acceptable the Democrats' amendment, but not the opposition's.

  Amendment (Senator Newman's) negatived.