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Monday, 30 November 1998
Page: 834

Senator STOTT DESPOJA (1:58 PM) —I move Australian Democrats amendment (6):

(6) Clause 48, page 33 (after line 24), at the end of the clause, add:

(4) As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, the Minister must cause a report to be prepared, setting out details of insurance cover for each launch conducted during that financial year.

(5) The Minister must cause a copy of the report mentioned in subsection (4) to be tabled in each House of the Parliament before the expiration of 6 months after the end of the financial year to which the report relates.

Amendment No. 6 is in relation to insurance requirements. The provision we are seeking to amend sets out the insurance requirements for launches and returns. This amendment merely adds to the existing provision a reporting requirement of the amount of insurance. We believe that this is a necessary addition for the purposes of accountability. The mechanisms for determining the amount of a maximum probable loss are presently quite vague because the method of this calculation is to be set out in regulations.

Of course, we have yet to see the regulations, and we have no clear guidance on how this figure would be achieved. I am particularly concerned that this insurance sum should be adequate and the means of ensuring this is to include a reporting requirement. Like many of the amendments that the Democrats have moved to the bill so far, this is to seek a reporting requirement and some degree of accountability in this bill.

I am also happy to say something about leaving out key elements of legislation to be set down later in regulations. We have seen that this is an increasing practice in the Senate. We are told not to worry, that we will have an opportunity to deal with the regulations and the issues when we see the regulations, or that it will all be sorted in the regulations. The Democrats, and I suggest others in this place, do not particularly regard that as appropriate. Legislation before the Senate is here to be considered as a whole. We are debating a particularly complex package, and this includes essential elements which have to be sorted out in the regulations. We have seen the same response to other legislation, such as the fees structures in the Australia New Zealand Food Authority amendment bills, to name just one glaring example.

Progress reported.