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Tuesday, 3 December 2002
Page: 7075

Senator BARNETT (11:16 PM) —I will respond to some of the comments that have been made. I appreciate the additions from Senator Murphy, Senator Harris and Senator Harradine. This is the whole point: if no time limit is specified, it is open-ended. That is what we have. It is an open-ended system that allows for who-knows-when for the reporting to come in. We recognise that clause 29 sets up a public database, but what about the conditions? Clause 24(5) says that they `may include'. That is not adequate. We are trying to build a system that will build public confidence in the regime that we have. That is where I am coming from. I have recommended six months. I think that is fair and reasonable. Senator Harradine made the point that they will probably be doing it anyway. It is not rocket science or a major transformation of their businesses to be reporting in that time frame. Surely the public has a right to know; that is the point that I would like to put forward. We need to proceed. This is controversial legislation and we should proceed cautiously. That is set out in the COAG agreement, so it is consistent with that. The arguments that have been made are quite strong, and I will leave it there.

Question negatived.