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Friday, 27 June 1997
Page: 5460

Senator CARR(11.57 a.m.) —The government has indicated that it believes the Democrat amendment is least offensive. We have indicated to the committee why we think the Democrat amendment is not the best course of action. But I would ask Senator Kemp: what particularly do you find more offensive about the clean, simple, straightforward proposition that we are advancing? What is it that you are finding difficult about that? I think that ought to be on the public record.

Might I say that, since you put a shot across our bows in regard to this issue, it ought be understood that the 1994 draft ruling was, of course, known to the Labor government. But it was never our understanding that that ruling would be implemented. What of course we see now is a change of position within the government. That essentially is the issue.

We believe that the current practice is fair and reasonable. But our concern is to ensure that the current practice is maintained rather than the current law. I think, in real terms, with what you have seen since 1951, it may well be an argument that the current law has not been implemented. Our concern with the draft ruling is that, while it may be consistent with the law, it is not consistent with the current practice. Essentially, that is the issue we are trying to resolve here today. But I return to my question, Senator Kemp: what is it about our straightforward, simple, clean method of dealing with this issue that you find so difficult?