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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26234

Senator HARRIS (9:48 PM) —I thank Senator Hill for his answer. What I am trying to establish here is not casting any doubts or aspersions on the government at all; what I am trying to articulate, I believe, is a section of the Acts Interpretation Act. My clear understanding is that the amending, altering or repealing of an act does not affect a right, a privilege or an obligation that is actually accrued under the act. I am just talking about the average Australian person or the small business that is operating today under all of these pieces of legislation. If they can go about their daily business and not be affected by the changes in the act, that resolves or takes away a lot of the concern that I have in relation to the bill. My understanding is that their rights, their privileges and their obligations are protected, but we need to have that articulated very, very clearly.

I am not talking about a person who is exporting to the US or importing goods. I am talking about the average small Australian business—which, for argument's sake, works under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 today—and providing that their rights and the things that they do are not jeopardised by any of the changes the government is proposing. I think that would carry to the Australian people a lot of confidence.