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Wednesday, 29 June 1994
Page: 2344


Senator PATTERSON (6.48 p.m.) —The Australian Democrats' amendment came in quite late. I do not want to be held to when it was circulated, but it was quite recent.


Senator Bell —It's the same amendment we always put in; you know what it says.


Senator PATTERSON —The Democrat amendment was circulated very late, without consultation, and without time for us to have a detailed look at it.

  Senator Kernot interjecting—


Senator PATTERSON —If Senator Kernot and the rest of the Democrats want to participate in the debate, they will have a chance when I finish speaking. I have sat and listened to them for nearly two hours with about one interjection. It would be polite if they were to give me the same courtesy.

  It was coalition policy for the last two elections that there is need for reform in this area to alleviate hardship. However, this measure will exclude all primary producers from the assets test regardless of their actual wealth. The coalition would like to see a number of matters investigated before we would agree with the amendment. I did have discussions with Senator Woodley. I have circulated an amendment in the name of the coalition in which I say that this issue would be referred to the rural affairs committee so that it can look at the implications of this amendment. The Democrats will have an opportunity to bring it in again when it has been totally looked at. At this stage the coalition is not of a mind to support the amendment. Senator Troeth is a farmer and—

  The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator McKiernan)—Order! It being 6.50 p.m., pursuant to order, I report progress.

  Progress reported.