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Wednesday, 29 June 1994
Page: 2271


Senator PATTERSON (12.36 p.m.) —I am put in an invidious position. I, like the Australian Democrats, believe these amendments were circulated. If the government was concerned that the drafting of the amendments was such that they would have unintended consequences and would not actually totally do what the Democrats hoped they would do, the government should have had the decency actually to approach the Democrats and to advise us. It gives us briefings on its own amendments; it is not beyond the wit of man or woman to expect it to advise us on the implications of other amendments that are before us.

  I do not think it is satisfactory, but I do not agree with Senator Lees about actually getting it down on paper. It is not a matter of getting it down on paper; it is a matter of getting it into law and sending it to the House of Representatives. I will seek to defer consideration of this matter until the end of the committee stage of the bill, which would give us at least some time to discuss what we might be able to do, and we can consider it again after lunch and after question time.

  As the Democrats have said, the government has had these amendments for a long while. If it is not possible to address the problems, we need to think about what we might do in terms of giving some sort of message to the House of Representatives that we require this to be corrected when it comes back. I move:

  That the committee defer consideration of Democrat amendments Nos 13 to 16 until the end of the committee stage of the bill.