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Tuesday, 30 August 1994
Page: 572

Senator CRANE —by leave—I rise to make some brief comments in relation to the resolution moved by the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs. Senator Brownhill, Senator Calvert and I sit as opposition members on that committee. We support the combination of these two references. The first reference was referred to the Senate in June. We received 140-odd submissions

and something like 100 of them included the matter of assets testing on Austudy.

  We discussed this matter in the committee. I went to the Clerk of the Senate and had the terms of reference drawn up because I believed that we should combine them. I was going to move those in the Senate yesterday. However, neither Senator Lees nor Senator Woodley have returned my phone calls. For some reason they declined to support my moving them yesterday. We gave support to the reference including Austudy. Today, prior to lunch, I left phone calls with Senator Lees and Senator Woodley with regard to getting an explanation for their adopting this strange attitude.

  From time to time Democrat senators like to come in here and complain that we do not communicate with them or talk to them, but for several days I have been unsuccessful in getting an answer from them. It is important that we combine the two references. As soon as is physically possible we should get on with it and conclude the matter. The people who initially put in submissions must be notified that those submissions will be included. We must also advertise the broadening of the reference.