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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2857

Senator COULTER (Leader of the Australian Democrats) (8.28 p.m.) —The reason we are in this difficulty over clause 3 is quite simply that the definition, of course, is not necessary if we do not proceed with the other clauses. That is why we are jumping forward in the Bill. The Opposition has attempted simply to take the subclauses from clause 77 and bring them back into proposed new clause 51A. The Government has, I think fairly, objected to proposed new clause 51A(2), which reads:

  The function of the Community Advisory Committee is to advise the Board on the community—

—and these are the relevant words—

consultative measures to be included in each corporate plan of the SBS.

It objected to that and said that, if what both the Opposition and the Australian Democrats want to achieve is an ongoing community consultative process, that does not properly achieve that aim, and I think the Government's criticism there is fair.

  The Government is attempting to achieve a satisfactory community consultative process through its amendments to clauses 47 and 49, and I am quite happy with its alternative. However, if the Government is not going to proceed with its clauses, that places the Democrats in a rather difficult position. We will have to put the Government's amendments as our amendments if it is not going to proceed. At this stage I want to indicate that, if the Minister wants to proceed with clause 3, we will support it, as we will go ahead and support the Government's amendments to clauses 47 and 49 if that is the way to go. I believe that more adequately achieves what I think both the Opposition and we are trying to achieve, which is an ongoing community consultative process.