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Monday, 28 June 1999
Page: 6677

Senator CHRIS EVANS (7:39 PM) —On behalf of the Labor opposition, I indicate that we are inclined to support these first two Democrat amendments in much the same sort of frame of mind as Senator Bartlett brought to this issue. The chamber will notice that we did not seek to amend this section ourselves. Our main concern is with the next measure, which was the 28-day limit on appeals to SSAT. But I think the same general concern that I expressed in the second reading debate pervades our approach to all of this—that there has not been a great deal of consideration of what has been in the administration bills.

There is a bit of nervousness on our part that there has not been proper consideration of the implications of some of these measures. From a quick chat I have had with the opposition spokesman on social security, Mr Wayne Swan, while he was not necessarily inclined to oppose, our general approach is to be a bit cautious about some of these proposals till we are able to discuss what they mean in more detail with those who represent people who could be adversely affected.

On balance, while our main concern is with the next section, which we will be opposing, we are inclined to support the Democrat amendments on the same basis that we think there needs to be a bit more light and air applied to these measures. They are part of an approach to social security that will be dealt with more fundamentally, I gather, in a bill coming before us a bit later. In the short term, we are inclined to err on the side of caution. For that reason, we will be supporting these two Democrat amendments.