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Thursday, 2 June 1994
Page: 1184

Senator WATSON —Madam Acting Deputy President, I claim to have been misrepresented and seek leave to make a personal explanation.

  Leave granted.

Senator WATSON —Never before in the summing up of a second reading debate on a bill has an opposition been so misrepresented as we have heard here today. Not only did the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology (Senator Cook) claim that we did not address any of the issues raised in the second reading amendment, but he confused the situation between the second reading amendment and amendments yet to be passed in the committee stage.

Senator Cook —You shouldn't debate it.

Senator WATSON —I will not take up the time of the Senate in addressing those issues, but in that misrepresentation—

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Zakharov)—Order! Senator Watson, is this a personal explanation? You have been given leave to make a personal explanation.

Senator WATSON —I have been personally misrepresented. It was claimed I did not address any of the issues in terms of the second reading amendment. Rather than go through that in detail, I ask the minister to read the transcript of the debate, because the content of his speech would indicate that it was prepared before he even heard or listened to the debate.

  What he has effectively done is to misrepresent not only to me but to the wider world in the way he pulled the wool over people's eyes, particularly students, in introducing a tax measure through the backdoor method of an educational bill. We seek to make sure there is consistency here and that is what we are doing, to make sure there is fairness as far as the student population paying HECS is concerned. But I will address those issues specifically at the committee stage.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Original question resolved in the affirmative.

  Bill read a second time.