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Tuesday, 19 March 1985
Page: 406


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(4.33) —I briefly reply to Senator Watson's questions by saying that I did address this matter in my second reading reply. He must have missed it because my reference was to Senator Haines's contribution rather than to his contribution on the subject. But to the extent that he was raising larger social and ethical issues, I said that the Government was aware of the miscellany of State and overseas inquiries which had each contributed in one way or another to an understanding of this issue and to policy formulation on it. We are considering the question as to whether or not there might not be more appropriately some national approach to all this. I referred specifically to the Family Law Council which, under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Asche, has one of its sub-committees preparing a report on just that issue. It is my recollection that the matter had also been brought formally before the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General with a view to getting some integrated national approach. Certainly there were several debates about particular piecemeal aspects of it, but also as to the question of some standing national advisory or even executive body in this area. I assure Senator Watson that his enthusiasm on this topic, both as articulated in the second reading stage and in this debate today, has not fallen on deaf ears.