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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 24308

Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) (12:26 PM) —I am sure Senator Greig will not mind me acknowledging Senator Watson, who is in the gallery with some schoolchildren who are here as part of National Coat Day and to whom I would have presented the 1,000th or 10,000th coat at the appropriate time had Senator Schacht's indications of `just a few questions, maybe not two minutes' come to fruition.

Senator Schacht —I did not say `two minutes'.

Senator VANSTONE —Maybe not `two minutes', but I did ask Senator Schacht—you were here, Senator Greig—when he wanted leave to reopen things whether this was going to take long, not because leave would necessarily be denied but because I might have got another minister, as I had this other commitment to these children and to National Coat Day, which is very important. It is about giving coats to people who need them to keep themselves warm in winter. In fact, I am not sure whether the coats that I have brought in to be donated have been found in my office and found their way through someone else—yes, they have. That is good. I just wanted to acknowledge the children. I am sorry I could not be there. Sometimes people say things, and they get them wrong.

Senator Schacht —Go on, blame me. Blame Senator Schacht.

Senator VANSTONE —Sometimes people say, `Oh, it might not be two minutes; it will not be long,' and they do not get to it. There are various methods of recourse for people who believe they have been discriminated against. Of course, you know that before someone can go to the UN they have to exempt every domestic remedy. There may be one through HREOC—I do not know. If people want to express a view that this legislation is discriminatory I am pretty sure that that would be the first port of call, if that was in fact the appropriate place.

Bills agreed to.

Bills reported without amendment; report adopted.