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Wednesday, 8 June 1994
Page: 1455


Senator CRANE (10.12 a.m.) —Like Senator Burns and Senator Brownhill, I rise to speak on this motion having been a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs that took evidence concerning this matter. The charge that we are trying to rush through this legislation is absolute nonsense. It has been to the committee, it has been heard, and it was considered very carefully. As borne out by Senator Brownhill's reading from the Attorney-General's letter, advice was taken and considered and all the information put together.

  In my view, this legislation would enhance the position of Aboriginal people, as it enhances the position of the people involved in plant breeding. To delay this legislation would disadvantage not only the industry but also the Aboriginal people and their rights as members of the community.

  It is also my view, on the basis of the evidence given to the rural and regional affairs committee, that much of the argument put before us was spurious, very emotional, and not backed up with rationality and legal substance. I believe that it was used as a delaying tactic with respect to this particular piece of legislation. If we as a parliament are going to allow such tactics to delay the legislative process, we are falling down in our duty and responsibility.

  As far as this legislation is concerned, we have collected the evidence, we have had it examined and we have come back here with a very strong recommendation. Not to proceed now would mean that we are creating a situation where it appears as though we do not want to get on with the business of running this country in the interests of all Australians.