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Wednesday, 4 December 1996
Page: 6633


Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs)(12.22 p.m.) —I am doing the best I can in this respect. As we discussed last night, there is a very fine balance to be found. Yesterday on a number of occasions I indicated that I was happy for senators to proceed to speak in a row and then I would respond to a bunch of them together. Some senators were clearly unhappy with that and wanted immediate replies.

Equally, the degree to which polemics are put into questions does have some impact on the polemics of the answers. I think it worked very effectively a minute ago when a whole bunch of questions were asked, people put their views and then got the answers. Of course, you were unhappy with one response, but it was a response to an interjection that you brought into the matter.

With respect to legal studies, it is the same answer as I gave to Senator Stott Despoja. The discipline codes allow us to differentiate. There was some concern in the beginning—as expressed by a number of people—and the amendment is an indication that the government is prepared to listen. There is a case for saying that people who do paralegal studies do not earn the same as people who qualify with a law degree. The discipline codes enable us to separate that out and make a more equitable decision. Where it is possible to do that and do it sensibly, we will do it. The release might have been made yesterday, but I made the decision well before that.