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Thursday, 5 May 1994
Page: 306

Senator COLLINS (Minister for Primary Industries and Energy) (11.44 a.m.) —by leave—I move:

(1)Clause 1, page 1, lines 4 and 5, omit "Industry, Technology and Regional Development Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 1994", substitute "Industry, Science and Technology Legislation Amendment Act 1994".

(2)Part 2, pages 2 to 4, omit the Part.

(3)Title, page 1, omit "Department of Industry, Technology and Regional Development", substitute "Department of Industry, Science and Technology".

I understand that an agreement has been reached to report progress and not proceed with the passage of the entire bill at this time, and I ask Senator Spindler to indicate whether that is correct.

Senator Spindler —I am actually not aware of that agreement, but I would not raise any objections.

Senator COLLINS —I thank Senator Spindler for his indication that he is not going to object, and will move to report progress.

Senator Spindler —Before the minister does that, I have before me an amendment that the government has circulated which deletes part 2 of the bill relating to the sale of AIDC. I seek clarification as to whether the minister intends to proceed with that amendment and, if so, why report progress? I find it rather strange that we have yet another change of government policy. I wonder whether he has referred it to the ALP policy makers.

Senator COLLINS —I will make an executive decision. I intend to proceed with the circulated government amendments. When that is done, we will see what the Senate has to say.

Senator Watson —How long have these circulated amendments been available?

Senator COLLINS —I have no idea.

Senator Watson —I want to make sure that our colleagues have had adequate time to consider them.

Senator COLLINS —The amendments are simple in their effect. I do not know how long they have been circulated but I have certainly got my copy—it was on my desk. The first amendment is, in fact, a non-event. It simply corrects the title of the bill to reflect the new ministerial arrangements.

  The second amendment, the one that Senator Spindler has just referred to and has indicated his support for—so clearly he has a copy—removes the whole of part 2 from the bill relating to the sale of the AIDC. That is the section that Senator Spindler is objecting to. The amendment simply takes it out. It would be the intention of the government to further negotiate this matter and, at a later stage, if necessary, bring it back to the Senate in the form of a separate bill. Senator Spindler has indicated his support for the amendment concerning part 2. I have no concern with proceeding with the government amendments as circulated. However, if it is the wish of the Senate at this point to report progress, I am also prepared to take that course. That may be Senator Watson's preferred position.

Senator Reid —I think there is some merit in that course. It may take less time if we report progress now, proceed with the next bill and bring this bill on afterwards.

Senator COLLINS —I thank Senator Reid for her helpful suggestion.

  Progress reported.