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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7957


Senator MARK BISHOP (6:26 PM) —I want to respond briefly to the comments made by Senator Cherry. We have not obtained, pinched or stolen some or all of the Democrat amendments and incorporated them as our own. They were devised by the Australian Labor Party following the recommendations of the Senate Community Affairs Committee inquiry. In turn, that Senate inquiry had high regard for the previous findings of Mr Pearce in his report. Indeed, the Pearce findings, as considered by the Senate report, are the philosophical underpinning of our approach to the amendments just passed and nothing else. The other point I would make is that some of the last criticisms raised by Senator Cherry were a little premature. We are dealing with a range of amendments that are on the running sheet arising out of the Pearce report, and that will take some time, but they will address all of the issues raised by Senator Cherry. So I would suggest that it is a little early to be giving the opposition a bit of a backhander.