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Monday, 22 June 1998
Page: 3650

Senator MARGETTS (7:59 PM) —I find it a bit of an insult having to deal with legislation that has been so firmly criticised by those who know during the inquiry and the government did not take any notice themselves, quite frankly. We are responding to the kind of information that was thrown up in that inquiry and through people who we know who are experts in that field as well. I do not think simply going to the industry now and saying, `What do you think? How about you do this review on Senator Margetts's amendments?', is necessarily what is required. Maybe what there will need to be, and if I take some of the comments that Senator Cook made earlier, is a firm commitment from both sides of the Senate that there will be a set time by which these arrangements under which the legislation is dealt with are reviewed.

I can take advice and I can get give you some ideas by the end of this debate as to when, I might suggest, that review could take place, but I do not think simply giving it to industry and saying, `Can you tell us what you like and what you do not like?' gives the potential problems with investors time to emerge. We are being asked to take a lot of what the government is saying here on trust. During the speeches in the second reading debate three senators here said that the practice the government is talking about is not carried out in just about any country with these kinds of investments. So it is not we who are suggesting something that is unknown; the unknown is coming from the government side. What we are trying to direct you to is some certainty for investors amongst structures that are known, that do have some track record, rather than what the government is proposing. The cautious ones here are the Greens and the Democrats, and some within the opposition who probably are not in the chamber at the moment. It is not we who are leaping; it is you who are leaping. The cost will be to those people who are being put at risk. I can see what your intention is. I will still be arguing my amendments as they come. I will count the numbers as I go and if it is obvious that it is not going through, at least those arguments are on the record. When the expose is done eventually on Four Corners or on the Sunday program or whatever, at least I will be on the record as saying that you could have done it another way.