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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2420

Senator PATTERSON (12.33 p.m.) —Senator Woodley has circulated an amendment and the advice I have just had by telephone is that, to actually implement this amendment, the government would need a month because of a problem with its computers. We asked the government whether it could delay the penalty for a month and were told that it would get back to us on that. I have not had an answer through the shadow minister's office—it is a bit difficult because he is on the other side of the building. I do not know how we can deal with this because when the amendment was circulated I thought that it met the needs of the Democrats and our concerns. The government believed that it was able to implement this but at the last moment there seems to have been a hitch.

  I am trying to talk on so that the minister has time to get advice and we can do this without having to defer it; but I am beginning to run out of things to say. I hope the minister gets her advice soon because we have already deferred this amendment to give the government an opportunity, in consultation with the Democrats, to come up with an alternate way to deal with this issue, and we thought that we had achieved that. Do not laugh, Madam Chair; you might be in a situation where you will actually have to keep the debate going to enable the minister to seek advice. I believe that Senator Woodley may have something to say on this issue.