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Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Page: 7792


Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (6:54 PM) —As is so often the case in a committee stage debate like this, everything turns on one two-letter word. The word is in Senator Greig's amendment, which is amendment (3): `the person's right on request to an interpreter'. I think that is what we are dealing with. I pointed out before the rather substantial break in this committee stage debate that, as the amended bill stands, this is a matter for the prescribed authority to determine. If this were to say `the person's right to request an interpreter', I suspect it would be totally in concert with what has previously been determined by the committee.

I pointed out to the committee before the break that, in terms of the regime that is being supported by the opposition, a person being questioned would have the right to a lawyer. It is appropriate in this circumstance for the prescribed authority to be making decisions in accordance with the processes that were agreed a little earlier as a result of the government amendments that were moved by Senator Ellison. I am not persuaded by the arguments to move away from that particular approach. As I said, the government amendments in relation to the provision of an interpreter are good amendments, which are strongly supported by the opposition. I have indicated that as a result of those amendments I will not be progressing with one of the opposition amendments. Even though I have had many hours to consider my earlier remarks, I see no reason to change the thrust of them.

Question negatived.