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Wednesday, 29 November 2000
Page: 20077

Senator CHRIS EVANS (10:03 AM) —I want to make one quick remark to indicate that it is not quite that simple, because I think the Democrats are voting for some but not others. Senator Bartlett certainly made that clear in his speech. But I will leave the question of which amendment that applies to to a better mind than mine. I would think it would be a lot quicker if we just roll through them. I do not think anyone is going to divide on them. At least that way, if we went one, two, three, four, we would all know where we stood. I am open to guidance from the chair. As long as the chair knows what we are doing, I will go with the flow.

In terms of the issue raised by Senator Bartlett, our amendment seeks to provide some protection during an initial appeal or review period for the person to be protected against some penalty. I suppose ours is halfway between Senator Bartlett's position, which is to say that they ought to be protected throughout the appeals processes, and the government's position, which is to say that they ought to incur the penalty. We are saying that it is a reasonable proposition that during the initial appeal period they be protected from the penalty of interest applying. The system envisages people being allowed to pursue appeal rights. We ought not to penalise them for that. We do not want to have a situation where people feel that they are unable to pursue their legal rights because of fear of the penalty of that. I know it is a balancing act, but it seems to me that, at least in the initial appeal process, people ought not to be fearful of appealing because of the cost they may incur if they are unsuccessful. It is a question of access to justice and the cost of that. We are a bit concerned that there is some suggestion that people may be deterred because of the fear that, if they lose, they have incurred extra costs.

We have prepared our amendment (6) to provide some protection during the initial appeal period. We are not prepared to go as far as Senator Bartlett proposes, but that is because, as I say, it is a question of balance about when you say that penalty ought to be applied. I understand what Senator Bartlett is saying. Our proposition is that that initial period be exempt. As I say, it is a question of balancing interests.