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Friday, 25 November 2011
Page: 9654

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (11:56): I appreciate the minister's frankness. If the government is unable to say whether this will broaden the operation of the section, you need to query what the benefit of these amendments will be. If it is simply restating the position of the case law then it is the status quo. It is just a bit of window dressing for the current operation of laws relating to unconscionable conduct. I think the government has set out why it does not accept the need for a statutory definition of unconscionable conduct but, if it cannot say that it will broaden the operation of the section, to what extent does it consider that there may be a gap in the law in the absence of a statutory definition? Isn't it better to have a statutory definition as to what the government is intending to do? I accept that the intentions of the government with respect to this legislation are good ones, but I worry that effectively the status quo will remain as is.