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Thursday, 29 May 1997
Page: 3971

Senator COOK(12.22 p.m.) —We will support this government amendment. The fact that the government is amending its own bill is an indication of confusion in the government's mind about how it has handled this whole matter.

Senator Parer —It's from your good work.

Senator COOK —I will take that interjection; please have it recorded. But this has been a bit of a moveable feast; that is my point. The bill when it was introduced was not the bill that the government really intended the parliament to consider. The bill has been amended on foot, as we have gone along. As a consequence as well of the Senate inquiry, there have been further amendments. I just reiterate the point that I made at the Senate inquiry: it would have been far better if the government had got its house in order, presented to the Senate inquiry all of the amendments that it was wanting to make, the ones that it wished to withdraw and the ones that it wished to modify, so that the Senate committee could have had a look at what was in fact being proposed by the government, rather than a partial look at what the government was proposing.

Nonetheless, it would be a bit of a dog-in-the-manger approach for me if I were not to support this, because it is an improvement and it does mean that we are substituting a definition of minerals where `minerals naturally occurring formed by geological processes' is reinserted in favour of `minerals in any form'. I understand that encompasses, therefore, solar salt as a mineral for the purposes of this act and synthetic or other emeralds as part of the definition of minerals for the purposes of this act. I support the change.