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Tuesday, 31 March 1987
Page: 1554


Senator ARCHER(5.35) —I thank the Special Minister of State (Senator Tate) for the response from the Government to the second report of the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform. At this juncture I do not want to take time to debate it in the Senate. I will go so far as to say that I am pleased to note in the attached Press release that the two major contentious items have been given attention-that is, that the electoral roll will not contain the voters' ages, sex and occupations and that the Commonwealth electoral roll will not be sold commercially on computer tape. It is highly desirable and I commend the Government for that.

The point on which I would like to make some comment is that the Minister said that, in rejecting this proposal, the Government was acting in accordance with the principles contained in the Privacy Bill that is now before Parliament. For the Government to talk about leaving things out because of the Privacy Bill at a time when the whole purpose of this week's exercise is to bring before the Senate the most critical piece of legislation that will ever interfere with people's privacy in Australian history is almost laughable. Here we are talking about interfering in people's lives with the Australia Card Bill, yet the Government is saying that it will not do something because it will interfere with privacy. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.