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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2402


Senator PATTERSON (10.47 a.m.) —When this debate was suspended last night I was talking about the Australian Democrats' amendment to exclude all primary producers from the assets test for family payment and additional family payment. At the end of committee stage I will be moving a motion to refer this matter to the rural and regional affairs committee.

  Yesterday Senator Troeth sat here all day waiting to put her view about why the coalition was not prepared at this time to support the amendment before us. She is now in another committee meeting and may not be able to get into the chamber in time to debate this matter. Senator Troeth is a farmer and has many friends and neighbours who are farmers and who are suffering hardship at this time.

  In two previous policy statements the coalition indicated a need for reform in this area to alleviate hardship but we have not been able to examine the full ramifications of this amendment. It is necessary to do that before it is written into legislation. We do not want any unintended consequences. That is why I will be moving that it be referred to the rural and regional affairs committee for examination.