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Thursday, 14 October 1999
Page: 9693

Senator ELLISON (Special Minister of State) (10:53 AM) —At the outset, I thank senators, both from the opposition and from the Democrats, for their contributions. As Senator Faulkner outlined, this bill is the product of lengthy, complex and intense negotiations. I say on behalf of the government that it acknowledges and appreciates the spirit in which the opposition has approached those negotiations. During the course of those consultations and negotiations, the government has dealt with not only the opposition but also the CPSU and public servants themselves. It has been a compromise. As mentioned by Senator Faulkner, the opposition has compromised on various aspects, as has the government. I also acknowledge Senator Allison's contribution.

We believe this is a responsible bill, as stated by Senator Allison. I will not reiterate the points made in the second reading speech, suffice to say that this bill is a great reform of the Australian Public Service. We are reforming a piece of legislation that has been in existence for in excess of 70 years and which, I think, has been amended on some 100 occasions. There is, of course, the one point of the opposition's amendment, which we will deal with in the committee stage, but I commend these bills to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bills read a second time.