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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1838

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(12.14) —One can argue about this, but where the matter in issue is the restraint of an act which, if it does occur, completely undermines the whole point of what it is that one is trying to protect, it is appropriate-I understand that there are plenty of precedents for it-for the cause to be pretty robust. When one looks carefully at the way the provision is drafted, one sees that it is not quite as wide as Senator Newman suggests. It is just to cover those situations--

Senator Walters —It looks it to us.

Senator GARETH EVANS —Again, given the time, I do not want to get into a detailed legal discussion about it, but there may be circumstances where the appearance of intention is lacking but where their might, nonetheless, be some reason to suppose that the intention cannot be excluded. There might be circumstances where there is a perceived danger of damage to the protected area but not an imminent danger. There may be circumstances where there has been no precedent for that behaviour by the person in question, and that is the point of (3) (b). A lot depends on whether or not there are precedents for this. I am assured that there are. It seems to me that, given the policy objectives of this clause, it is not an unreasonable or overbroad clause. Again, I suspect that that is something on which we will not reach agreement. Under the circumstances, I suggest that we put it to the test.