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Wednesday, 31 August 1994
Page: 624

Senator COLLINS (Minister for Primary Industries and Energy) —by leave—I am obliged to consult the minister. I am not the minister responsible for producing these papers; the minister is in another place. I discovered the amendment that has just been moved in the last 30 seconds—and I still have not read it—only after discussions with Senator Coulter yesterday. I have not even had time to examine it. For that reason—and I want Senator Coulter to understand this—I am obliged to vote against it. I can do no other, like Martin Luther, because I have not even had time to read it. I must consult the minister, as Senator Coulter is well aware. I am sorry that the briefing laid on last night did not take place. As I understand it, that problem was not on our side. I was assured this morning that the officers were available.

Senator Coulter —No.

Senator COLLINS —My advice was that, because Senator Coulter was detained on other business—I think he was in a committee—the briefing had to be postponed and has been rescheduled for today. That is the advice I got. All I am saying is that I have not caught up with the amendment. I discussed this with Senator Coulter yesterday. I discussed with Senator Alston his amendment, which I was familiar with and which has been postponed today. But I have not even had an opportunity to discuss with Minister Brereton the amendment that is now being moved. It is Minister Brereton who will have to make a decision, as the portfolio minister, as to what papers he produces or does not produce. I am sure that is understood. I wonder whether we can agree to a postponement to a later hour of this matter to give me a chance to talk with Minister Brereton to find out whether he is prepared to say yes to this request. I will be only half an hour, I am sure.