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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2413

Senator CHAMARETTE (11.46 a.m.) —I thank Senator Patterson for her comments. I agree with her that the matter requires far more detailed investigation and examination of all the issues. I also agree that the solutions are not immediately clear. One should examine whether they are a cultural problem, an education problem or whatever. It is not always possible to know which issues are before the various parties under consideration and what they already know about and the issues that have not been considered. Sometimes one only discovers that sort of information when one reaches this place. One may decide to raise these matters on the floor of the chamber, via an inquiry or through a committee process. It simply happens that this was the point at which I decided to raise this matter because this is the most convenient way in which to do so. We are dealing with disability wage supplement issues and it is appropriate to look at the impact of those issues.

  In that sense I support Senator Harradine's comments. If Senator Patterson realises that this is a matter that is far more complex than any of us in the chamber have been able to grasp, clearly that gives good grounds for voting for my amendment and following it up with an inquiry. It is not a sufficient reason to refuse to support the amendment simply because Senator Patterson would prefer a more detailed examination. I think that we in this place have the responsibility whenever we vote for something to vote on the information that we have at hand. If that information is to the effect that a matter is complex and raises difficulties, one needs to support whatever decision of the chamber is most appropriate at that point.

  I take up the suggestion of an inquiry, and indeed I have been meaning to do so. However, I refute any idea that this is not an appropriate venue in which to raise the matter and ask people to think about it. In this chamber we have present the very people who are most likely to take the matter further at a committee or inquiry stage. Therefore, I do not draw back from introducing it in detail in this way. I hope that it will focus attention on the matter regardless of how the vote goes.