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Wednesday, 4 May 1994
Page: 158

Senator HARRADINE (10.43 a.m.) —If I mentioned making copies I did not mean to because the government's proposed amendment No. 21 omits the words `to make copies of'. What I thought I said—maybe I did not say it—was `to take extracts from'. That is still in there. Am I wrong there, too?

Senator Crowley —No, you are right.

Senator Newman —Take samples of.

Senator HARRADINE —Yes, to take samples of, but that is not of a document, of course. In the area I come from, the industrial relations area, there are quite clear provisions in relevant state legislation that inspectors have the authority to enter premises, to inspect books and all the rest of it for the purpose of ensuring compliance with relevant awards. But in those circumstances, in many cases, if not in most, I think there is a requirement for notice to be given.

  One of the difficulties that I have is that I would like to assure myself—and I suppose the Senate as a whole would like to have that assurance—that this is not incrementally tipping the balance. As I am speaking, I am thinking of what Senator Barney Cooney, the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, said. I would not like this legislation to extend these powers that extra bit. I have regard to what Senator Cooney said about comments made by the judiciary in respect of this. In any event, we have a primary responsibility in this chamber to ensure that that balance does not tip too far one way.

  I would like the opportunity to look at this legislation that the minister has indicated to see whether we are going that one step further. There might be an argument for going that one step further. There is clearly an argument to do something to rectify a situation which everyone agrees requires rectification and remedy. But I, for one, would like at least a short adjournment of the consideration of this matter so as to satisfy my mind that we are not going too far in one way. I give the government an assurance that I agree that something needs to be done in this regard, because what has been on offer thus far just has not worked.