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Wednesday, 16 February 2000
Page: 11820

Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Justice and Customs) (9:52 AM) —I understand this question was raised even before the bill got here; it was raised in the other place. I have just had advice from the advisers here, who were partly involved in the negotiations of the certified agreement, and they say that the union was briefed on the bill well in advance. It was not given the exact copy of the bill until it had been approved, and that is no surprise. Their best recollection is that the union had the bill available in its proper form for two weeks—do not hold me to that if it is 13 days or whatever, but it was in that vicinity—before the vote was taken. We do understand—we have understood all along—that this bill was critical to the certified agreement and that the men and women of the Federal Police would want to see it and understand it before they voted. Having had briefings on it, seen it and understood it, they voted in favour of the certified agreement.