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Thursday, 21 June 2001
Page: 24867


Senator FORSHAW (1:42 PM) —This is not as lofty a matter as the previous debate on the appointment of the new Governor-General. The Dried Vine Fruits (Rate of Primary Industry (Customs) Charge) Validation Bill 2001 and the Dried Vine Fruits (Rate of Primary Industry (Excise) Levy) Validation Bill 2001 deal with the regulations regarding the dried vine fruit industry. Whilst listening to the previous debate I was thinking about the separation of church and state some 2,000 or more years ago when a certain noted religious figure was very familiar with the dried vine fruit industry. Anyway, these bills will retrospectively validate regulations made on 29 August last year to reduce the rate of the levy and export charge on dried vine fruits from $10 to $7 per tonne as of 1 January 2000.

The bills are necessary because of a technical difficulty that has arisen. Apparently, according to advice from the Attorney-General's Department, there is some possibility that the regulation may be invalid due to the operation of subsection 48(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901. We are happy to support the legislation on the basis that it corrects an anomaly. We are advised that it is not envisaged that anyone in the industry who pays the levy has actually suffered any adverse impact as a result of the implementation of the regulation as it was gazetted previously. This legislation will nevertheless ensure that any adverse impact that might occur will still be covered. So we support the legislation. In view of the time, I will not make any further comments, but I do invite honourable senators, and indeed the public, to read the excellent speech of the shadow minister, Mr O'Connor, delivered in the House on 24 May 2001. It is a very informative speech, and particularly draws attention to the lax attitude, once again, of this minister and this government in terms of getting the legislation right in the first place. The opposition does not oppose the bills.