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Wednesday, 4 May 1994
Page: 243


Senator BELL —by leave—I thank the Senate for the indulgence. I will not take too much advantage of that indulgence or in any way obstruct the passage of this package of legislation. But I do want to take the time to indicate my disappointment, and distress really, at being confronted with a bill, as part of this package, which relates to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act. That act was the subject of some discussion recently in the inquiry of the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs into legislation concerned with the establishment of the National Registration Authority.

  The argument presented during that public inquiry was that the legislation should not be tampered with and should not be delayed. Let us get this straight: the legislation to establish the National Registration Authority should not to be delayed because it was very important to get everything under way and all hooked into gear so that the states could comply and all be ready at the same time. Now we have legislation delaying it not for a couple of weeks, not for a couple of months, but for a couple of years. I believe we on that committee were pressured not to suggest any substantial amendments to the legislation because the states were ready to go along with it: a deal had been done, it was all nicely packaged and ready to go, so we should not get in its way. Five minutes later we come to this place and find legislation requiring us to delay it. When I spoke at that inquiry and when I later assembled a dissenting report, that was the substance of my dissension. I feel justified now in having dissented.