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Government using Legislative Instruments Bill as cover in case of a race election



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No.66/97

3 December 1997

4a: La,jr , -4 0 n 'AU'44 •

SENATOR THE HON NICK BOLKUS

SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

GOVERNMENT USING LEGISLATIVE INSTRUMENTS BILL AS COVER IN CASE OF A RACE ELECTION

"The Government has deliberately rejected reasonable amendments proposed by the Senate to the Legislative Instruments Bill as cover for a race based election," Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Senator Nick Bolkus, said today.

"The Legislative Instruments Bill is generally regarded as non-contentious. Yet the Government, by refusing to agree to any of the non-Government amendments accepted by the Senate, has created the first arm of a double dissolution election on the Bill."

"We have continually offered the Government the opportunity to discuss constructive amendments to the Bill but they have simply refused to talk."

"And that offer was repeated in the Senate again today. But again, the Government refused."

"The height of the Government's stubbornness is shown by its refusal to accept the amendments, moved by the Democrats, that would have prevented the use of sexist language in legislative instruments. Now why can't the Government agree with that?"

"More substantively, however, if the Bill were allowed through in its current form then the proposed sunsetting provisions would have allowed the Government to vacate the field of regulation in a particular area without the approval of the Parliament. That is clearly inappropriate and a major erosion of the principles of parliamentary sovereignty."

"Indeed, most of the amendments moved by the Senate merely enhanced Parliamentary scrutiny of the making of legislative instruments."

"The Government's actions clearly demonstrate that it has simply not been serious about reaching a compromise on this otherwise non-contentious Bill."

"The Government is clearly trying to use this Bill, as it no doubt will with others, to hide the fact that it wants a double dissolution election based on race. It is trying to stack up double-dissolution triggers so that it can pretend that the next election is not about race."

"The Government stands condemned both for its motives and for the fact that it is holding up a useful piece of legislation in this politically cynical way."

"The Government should accept the Senate's amendments when it re-introduces the Bill in 3 months time."

ert,.ct• Si en B. Ph: 02 6277 3388 (ph or 0419 63 85 87 F. - 0 I I.

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