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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6822

Senator CHRIS EVANS (1:34 PM) —I want to indicate that, while Senator Nettle is losing confidence in her amendment, I am going to support it. The Labor Party's official position is that we accept that both Senator Nettle and Senator Collins have sought to pursue an issue that some say represents a loophole. Certainly, we have seen advice from AHEC that says that the senator's concern is reasonable and that we need to look at this question. As we have argued previously, we have tried as much as possible to remain consistent with the COAG agreement. We have tried not to move too far away from that because of the unique process they went through, when they got the agreement of all the states and territories. We want to respect that as much as possible while still allowing the Senate to do its proper job of reviewing the legislation with some rigour. We are persuaded on balance that Senator Nettle's amendment most accurately reflects the advice from AHEC and provides sufficient protection against the concerns raised. On behalf of the ALP—although senators will have a conscience vote—I indicate that we will be supporting Senator Nettle's amendment but opposing Senator Collins's and Senator Hogg's.