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Tuesday, 16 September 2003
Page: 15239


Senator BROWN (1:07 PM) —That is not my advice, Mr Temporary Chairman, and I suggest that you take advice.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I have.


Senator BROWN —I suggest that you take advice from the President on the matter before you declare the procedure as improper. We are dealing with a tariff here rather than a tax as such. I would be quite happy to move that the Senate await a ruling on that before we proceed.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I have given you a ruling, Senator Brown, referring to Odgers' Australian Senate Practice, chapter 13 `Financial Legislation' and we have had that checked by two independent authorities from the Clerk's office.


Senator BROWN —I disagree with the ruling and I will therefore write such.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Very well, Senator Brown. I am telling you the consequences of your amendment but you can proceed if you want to.


Senator BROWN —I certainly will, but I am flagging a disagreement with your ruling until we have further advice on it. Let me go back to Senator Minchin's statement of `the Greens in the guise of Senator Brown'. I am here as a Green and I accept Senator Minchin as a government and Liberal Party senator and I hope he gets the same respect from across the chamber. When it comes to families, what he was talking about is bunkum. I referred to the fact that only some 10 per cent of people do get off the road in their vehicles, so we are dealing with the 90 per cent of people whom he did not meet at Innamincka. I also want to draw his attention to the fact that, even if you do take all the four-wheel drives into account, 80 per cent of Australians are buying conventional sedans. They are families and they are the people that this government is punishing with an extra $5,000 impost. That is the way that it goes. This government is penalising families because it is not giving them the same tariff break when it comes to imported—



Senator BROWN —Yes. Senator Minchin is caught by his own argument there. He is penalising families that do not have four-wheel drive vehicles—which is most of them. I would have thought that he would have thought better than that. When it comes to the car industry, I advise him to consult with them as to whether they think they would do better making four-wheel drives in Australia with a five per cent tariff on imported vehicles than they would with a 15 per cent tariff on imported vehicles, which is what this move would mean. Of course, that is nonsense. It would be in the interests of the Australian car industry to have this tariff matter fixed up. It will help to protect jobs. It will help to protect the industry itself and, as I have indicated, it will certainly help the environment at least while we are in this phase where most of these vehicles are being imported.