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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2176


Senator WATSON (12.01 p.m.) —The opposition believes that the appropriate course would be for the government to report back after it has deliberated. That will provide a firmer base on which the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs could then report. I am always rather loath not to support a recommendation of this nature to refer it to a standing committee, but I think the Senate has recognised its sovereignty, has sought the views of the Clerk, and has certainly tended to act on them in terms of acceptance of the final paragraph of his recommendations.

  I put it to the Senate that, if the government continues to persist in the manner in which it is presenting bills, it is ultimately up to this Senate to disallow the legislation as presented. If we embark on that process, I believe that we will bring the government to heel very quickly. We believe that the advice the government has been given is suspect and we have asked it in the gentlest possible way to go back and have another look at it. I wish to give it that opportunity to review its views and to seek wider opinion. If we are still dissatisfied, I believe that perhaps the course of action that Senator Coulter has just suggested would be the appropriate course of action. Ultimately, if the government still persists, we can on a future occasion just reject the amendments.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Original question, as amended, agreed to.

  Report adopted.