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Wednesday, 24 September 1997
Page: 6827


Senator BOLKUS(12.10 p.m.) —The opposition supports the amendments. It is a curious argument the government puts up. The government is not claiming that what Senator Murray is trying to do is a policy problem. I think implicit in what Senator Ellison said was that what Senator Murray is trying to do is desirable. Then he goes on to say that it is duplication because the Sex Discrimination Act covers it already. Then he says that if we were to pass these amendments the task for the drafters would be onerous. If the Sex Discrimination Act covers it already, there should not be an extra task. I do not think you can have it both ways, Senator Ellison.

What you are trying to argue is that, on the one hand, there is no extra task and then, on the other hand, the task for the drafters would be onerous. It would not be onerous. It is just one of those factors they have to take into account. They should do it as a matter of course. They could probably program their computers to do most of the work for them. I do not accept this concept of an onerous task.

In terms of the Sex Discrimination Act, we all know that a subsequent act of the parlia ment supersedes the pre-existing act. In fact if the Sex Discrimination Act does cover this field, there is no guarantee that what we are passing today would not somehow touch on or infringe on the application of the act. I think what Senator Murray is trying to do is desirable. I do not think the implications involved in terms of resources are a problem at all. If the government want to do it, they can do it. The bottom line here is that they do not want to do it. If you do not want to do it just say so.