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Wednesday, 25 March 1987
Page: 1505


Mr SINCLAIR (Manager of Opposition Business)(4.56) —I do not believe that it is appropriate for the House to be treated in this manner. It is an absolute contempt of the pro- cesses and procedures of parliament for this House to be gagged on a matter as sensitive as this. The identity card proposal will affect every Australian. Although it will not be introduced for five years, it will cost the taxpayers dearly and it will create 2,000 more public servants at a time when the Government is out in the elec- torate talking about its May mini-Budget and about the difficulty it will have reducing its expenditure. There is no reason to suspend Standing Orders at this stage in order to have a third reading. The Parliament is sitting tomorrow and next week and there is every opportunity for a proper debate on this matter. No answers have been given by the Minister for Health (Dr Blewett) as to the concerns of the banks.

What has happened to the suggestion by the Minister that there were going to be amendments to the identity card proposal to take into account the legitimate concerns of thousands of Australians? They have all gone by the board. To suspend Standing Orders in order to accelerate the final processing of this Australia Card Bill 1986 [No. 2] is only really to conceal the Government's total inadequacy in the processing of this infamous piece of legislation. There is no basis by which there should be any reference to a suspension of Standing Orders for this stage of the processing of the Bill. It is a very important piece of legislation and for all that the Minister Assisting the Treasurer (Mr Hurford) raises his hands in horror and says `Look, I do not really worry about the identity card' a few people in this place happen to worry about their constituents. I am sorry that he has no worries about ordinary Australians. The arrogance of these Ministers and the way they come into this place and strut their power before us is reflected again in this arbitrary suspension of Standing Orders so that we can go through a process which is absolute nonsense. There is no way by which we on this side of the House see any reason to allow this process. We oppose the measure moved by the Minister.