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Thursday, 2 October 1997
Page: 7458

Senator MURRAY(11.30 a.m.) —Senator Cook, if I may also assist you, in part of your remarks yesterday you said:

One of the reasons why I would oppose this is that it is in the cut and thrust of the last days of an election campaign when these reports are coming down.

That is why I thought you may have lost your place in the bill because the two amendments refer to page 7 and `Part 3—Principles of sound fiscal management' and to page 16 and `Part 6—Intergenerational report'. I am sure you would accept that the intergenerational report is a long-term matter and, in our view, it would quite properly include these matters if it was considered by the Senate to be appropriate.

Part 3 on page 7 sets out the guiding principles of sound fiscal management, which are required to guide government in its appraisal of matters related to fiscal policy. Clause 5, which we are amending, follows clause 4, which concerns the formulation of government fiscal policy, and clause 5 goes on to the principles of sound fiscal management. In other words, it is the guiding principles—it is the issues that both the government and the Senate, if it amends it, believe are appropriate to take into account.

We have no quarrel with the list that the government has put. We have expanded it to include things that are only included by inference and not in the particular. It is to that area that we draw your attention. There are two questions before us. Do the measures we are proposing affect the short-term election matters? Plainly, they do not. Are they appropriate for government and the Treasury to take into account? It is to that question, Senator Cook, that you need to address your thoughts. Plainly, those of us on this side of politics believe they are. I think the short-term issue is a red herring in this instance.