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Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Page: 47

Senator JOYCE (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (5:07 PM) —For the record, obviously I would have supported my own amendment. I was at an Economics Committee hearing on the top floor and even though I ran, I was not here on time. I believe it was a superior amendment; nonetheless it has failed. For the record, and so that people understand, quite obviously I would have been supported. I imagine that Senator Boswell and others would also have been in support of it. This amendment is certainly better than what the government is proposing now, and I concur with Senator Macdonald that it is certainly a step in the right direction for what was formerly section 9, I think—I do not have it in front of me—in the original act. Regardless of the motivations that have been described by the minister, I am certain that the overarching and overproscriptive capacity of the original act to reach into areas as a form of law, which I do not see reflected in other forms of law in Australia, and the whole intention that was there before—that you could be charged not so much for what you did but for what you thought—is an onerous form of law that we should not be passing in this chamber. So I see this not as a complete fix of that problem but certainly a step in the right direction. I hope, for future reference, regardless of what the act is that we are talking about, we do not revert to pieces of legislation that make criminals out of the way people think. The National Party will be in support of this amendment, not because it is right but because it is far better than what was completely wrong.