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Wednesday, 29 June 1994
Page: 2271

Senator LEES (Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats) (12.35 p.m.) —We note with interest the government's discussion with regard to intent. My colleague Senator Woodley has had these amendments on paper for several days and we would have welcomed any debate or discussion with the Minister for Family Services (Senator Crowley). We presume that she understood no-one would be supporting them, so she did not worry about them. However, I would have to argue on the issue of our advice. We are quite happy to match it with the minister's advice later on but, if we let this issue go now, we would have no way of enforcing it later on. If the government believes further amendments are needed, we would welcome those amendments. We would like an opportunity to discuss them in this place but, if we let the issue ride now, there is nothing to hold the government to any commitment whatsoever.

  I take the minister's word that she will look into the matter, but there is nothing binding the Minister for Social Security (Mr Baldwin). Therefore, the Democrats will persist with these amendments. We acknowledge that, after our legal advice and the legal advice of the government have been compared, there may need to be some fine tuning. But we believe we need to have something on paper today.