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Friday, 28 November 2003
Page: 18396

Senator NETTLE (1:36 PM) —I thank the minister for answering the question, and the minister is absolutely right: we need to be extremely careful about what goes into the legislation because we know that when it comes to a court case there will be arguments put about whether or not this legislation covers that information. The instance that I am talking about is where a local council provides information to their constituents that nuclear material is being transported through their area.

I can envisage debates in a court of law about whether or not that was reckless. The information is provided to constituents in the area and the actions and responses of those constituents may constitute a whole range of different things. They may constitute some uncertainty about nuclear material being transported through their area and they may cause some people who are particularly concerned about the nuclear industry—an industry that I would consider to be the most dangerous industry on our planet—to therefore decide to be involved in activities where they let others know about the transport of the material through their area so that they can be involved and informed in the debate about whether this is an appropriate thing to be occurring.

The minister has made it quite clear for the Senate that these issues will be open to interpretation in the court. I think that, as it is unclear here in the Senate whether or not local councils will be caught by this legislation—and I thank the minister for pointing this out—it will also be unclear in the courts as to whether local councils will be caught as a result of the provision of this information.