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Wednesday, 9 May 2007
Page: 133

Senator MASON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) (6:08 PM) —Can I make a few points about the guidelines. I thank Senator Siewert for raising the issue. The guidelines that I tabled this morning work alongside the provisions of the act, and they set the administrative procedures for implementing the emergency dealing determinations—in particular, as you pointed out, Senator Siewert, the consultative process that the minister and the government must go through. As the bill is already very prescriptive about the process for making an emergency dealing determination—and I went through that before—the government does not believe that there is any need for the guidelines to be a legislative instrument. In other acts that I have referred to in relation to other regulatory bodies, there are no such guidelines for emergency response—and, as you say, perhaps in this case, given the great seriousness of the issue, that is appropriate. But these guidelines really are a technical document subject to practical implementation in the workings of the legislation. They really tease out the procedural process. I am not sure, from reading the guidelines, that they are appropriate for legislation. They really are an aide-memoire to consultation rather than strictly a legislative document.