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Wednesday, 21 April 1999
Page: 3988

Senator MURRAY (11:26 AM) —by leave—The amendment proposed by Senator Margetts does not address the fundamental intent of this amendment, which is, effectively, to wipe out the bills to be considered because it says, `Omit all words after "That".' I know that the Labor Party has paid a great deal of serious attention to the ANTS package through the various committee processes over the months that have passed, as indeed have Senator Margetts and Senator Harradine. It seems to us that the government has every right to argue that its legislation should be considered, and the appropriate time for the decision as to whether to reject it is during the third reading debate when the amendments will either be satisfactory to the Senate and the government or they will not. So the problem with Senator Margetts's amendment is that it does not deal with the fundamental issue. So I foreshadow, as you would expect, that the Democrats intend to argue that the bills do go to committee stage and are properly considered at amendment. Therefore, to us, Senator Margetts's amendment is almost irrelevant for that reason. So I put that point of view, and we will see how it proceeds from there.