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Wednesday, 11 December 1974
Page: 3406

Senator DURACK - Are you not bringing in a special Bill to cover the Barrier Reef?

Senator WHEELDON -That relates to the Great Barrier Reef but there will be other areas as well. I do not want to refer only to the Great Barrier Reef. Doubtless there will be other reserves and they may well be on the high seas or close to the shore and not be part of the Great Barrier Reef. The same thing may apply to them. Senator Hall referred to a small cove or bay.

There may be a small cove or bay somewhere where motor boats will be prohibited because they destroy whatever we are attempting to preserve there. I think it is necessary that we have this power. I suppose we have to rely on the common sense of the Government and the people who will administer the Act to not make us look foolish by placing ridiculous embargoes on activity in these areas.

With regard to the convention relating to the high seas, it may well be that this paragraph in some way does contravene our adoption of that convention. But if that is so, the Act will be invalid and there is no need to amend it here. If we are to amend the Bill here in order to omit something which may be invalid- if that is the reason for doing it- then we are usurping the function of the High Court and there is no real need to go into the matter here. If it is invalid it will be tested sooner or later and be found to be invalid. Our advice is that it is not invalid. Maybe the advice is wrong; we do not know. In any event our advice is that if it does contravene the Convention on the High Seas there is no need to amend the Bill; it will be dealt with elsewhere. For that reason the Government is not prepared to accept the amendment which has been moved.

Amendment negatived.

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