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Thursday, 19 February 1987
Page: 239


Senator DURACK(11.22) —Apparently the amendment with which we are dealing is not the amendment which the Australian Democrats circulated some time ago; it is a separate bit of paper that has been floating around in the last day or so. Is that the position?


The CHAIRMAN —It is an unnumbered sheet of paper. The Parliamentary Counsel's attention will be drawn to that again. It starts with the words `Page 32, clause 51', inserting two sub-clauses.


Senator DURACK —There is a fundamental difference between this particular amendment and the one which was circulated by the Democrats in this chamber and which has been in our possession for some time as the Democrats' amendment. With the assurance that the Democrats are now moving a fundamentally different amendment from the one that they circulated and it has been watered down, the Opposition will not oppose it. We were certainly strongly opposed to the first amendment of Senator Sanders. It proposed what would have been an impossible task for the Australian Safeguards Office and had other undesirable features, as one comes to expect from Senator Sanders and the Democrats. Seeing that they have been brought into line, presumably by the Government, and the thing is now in reasonable shape, we will not oppose it. I say simply that the Opposition would have preferred to have left the legislation on this subject as it was. With this legislation we are setting up a body of high standing, which indeed our Safeguards Office has been; we are giving it statutory authority; and we are upgrading the position of the Director. I thought we could have left it as the Government's Bill originally provided-that it would give a report. I thought we could have trusted it to give a report in perfectly suitable terms. If the Government now wants to have some more detail inserted in the terms of this amendment, so be it; that is for it to decide. We will not oppose it.