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Thursday, 26 August 1999
Page: 7821


Senator GREIG (12:10 PM) —by leave—I move Democrat amendments (10) and (11) on sheet 1514:

(10) subclause 4A(1), omit "consulting with", substitute "obtaining the agreement of".

(11) subclause 4B(7), omit "15 sitting days", substitute "30 days".

These amendments seek to amend opposition amendment No. 7 on sheet 1290. Democrat amendment (10) is designed to ensure that we obtain the agreement of the environment minister before gazettal rather than just having to consult with the environment minister, which is what the ALP seeks with their amendment.

Democrat amendment (11) seeks to omit the 15-day minimum time period between re-presenting an RFA to either house after it has been rejected. We believe strongly that there should be a minimum six-month time period for government to go back and renegotiate an RFA agreement if either house of the Commonwealth parliament rejects it. We are concerned that, with such little time as 15 days, the government will keep thrusting an unchanged RFA back before the Senate and dare us to be obstructionist on it.

We have already seen how the government will behave on this, with both Senator Hill and Minister Tuckey saying that they will refuse to accept any amendments to the RFA legislation, and that is before they have even seen what is on offer. That is not good or responsible government; that is simply bare-chested arrogance, and that is what we will see from them on this if an RFA is rejected by the Senate. There should be a minimum six-month cooling off period so that government can work with state governments and stakeholders in respect of any unacceptable elements of an RFA. That is what we seek with these amendments.