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Thursday, 6 March 2003
Page: 9373

Senator O'BRIEN (11:25 AM) —The opposition will support this motion. The reason that this matter is now urgent is the absolute tardiness of the government in bringing this legislation before the parliament. It should have been here at least three months ago. As a result, we are running up against the deadline that Senator Stott Despoja has referred to. I am satisfied that this is a treaty which has the support of East Timor and the Australian government. There are extreme consequences if the legislation is not dealt with today. We know we have until 12.45 to deal with it, so I am not going to spend a great deal of time on my feet now. I sincerely hope that the wishes of the people of East Timor, as represented by their government, are reflected in this debate today. The opposition will certainly be respecting that in the way that we deal with this legislation.