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Thursday, 1 September 1994
Page: 806


Senator McMULLAN (Minister for Trade) —I am not familiar with all the details of the matter that Senator Bell raises. I remember the debate—in fact, who could forget the debate—when we put through the Industrial Relations Reform Act. It might not have been the longest or most notable debate of that series we had at that time, but it stands among the top few.

  Senator Bell interjecting


Senator McMULLAN —Yes. I remember this amendment. I was not aware of the question being on notice, nor that it had gone over the 30-day rule. Sometimes the requirements of the 30-day rule are probably unreasonable when we get very complex questions. In this instance it is a matter that involves a number of departments and is not straightforward. If I correctly understand Senator Bell's contribution, a matter of similar nature is before the industrial relations court. It is not the same issue, but is a matter of similar nature.

  Because of the complexity, I will undertake to bring some pressure to bear to ensure that at least an interim reply is received—if that is all that is possible because of the court proceedings. I am not sure whether the two things will be caught up together, but it is a proper matter for the Senate's concern. It is one that I am concerned about. I have already set in train through my office a process to get a reply as soon as possible. I undertake to do that for Senator Bell.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.