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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2202

Senator WALSH (Minister for Resources and Energy) —Mr President , I seek leave to make a statement.

The PRESIDENT —There is a motion before the Chair, that the Senate take note of the report.

Senator WALSH —I just want to speak very briefly and reserve my right to speak on the motion later, so I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

Senator WALSH —Firstly, I am advised-although I am not certain of the reasons why-that there will be an opportunity, since the cherry pickers Bill, the Income Tax Assessment Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1984, has not been given a second reading, to have it returned to the Senate so that further debate can take place.

Senator Harradine —It has been given a second reading.

Senator WALSH —If it is the case that the second reading motion was carried, I will give an undertaking to see what can be done to take care of that. On the report of the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations itself, Senator Withers gave at some length reasons for his dissenting report, but his logic has not improved. If the reasons he gave for opposing the recommendation of the Committee are soundly based there is no need to pass any legislation at all, regardless of the date upon it. Senator Evans gave some reason and Senator Townley gave none. Whether that can be attributed to arrogance or indolence I am not sure. On the general question of retrospectivity, if that option is ultimately taken it will be applied at least one year further back than it would have been if the Government's Bill had not been resisted in the first place. In the meantime, the Kellys and their ilk can retain their ill-gotten gains, and possibly even the would-be Kellys can retain the hope that they will be able to repeat that sort of exercise in the future.

Senator Harradine —Mr President, I rise on a point of order. My point of order is that if one fails to speak now on this motion, does that mean, in view of the fact that the Bill has been read a second time and is about to be considered in Committee, that there will be no further opportunity for a Senator to make comment on this report?

The PRESIDENT —Technically the point of order that you have taken is correct in that there is now a general debate on this report, Senator Coates having moved that the Senate take note of the report. But I would assume that, bearing in mind the circumstances, when the Bill is dealt with in Committee, a certain amount of latitude will be allowed in debate on the matter.