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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 7107


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (11:44): If this bill is passed, the law will apply during what is called the 'limitation period', which is the period from the commencement of this legislation to 15 November. If an act in breach of this section were to take place during that limitation period, between commencement and 15 November 2017, any processes that flow from that would continue until they're resolved.

The government hopes, and I believe the parliament hopes, that these provisions will not have to be used at any one point in time. That is because we would like all Australians to engage in this debate and express their views freely but with courtesy and respect. We don't believe that, to make the point on either side of this argument, there is a need for vilification, intimidation or threats to cause harm. I think people on both sides of the argument can make their points in support of their side of the argument in a way that is courteous and respectful. It is our hope that the parliament sending this message that we will not tolerate vilification, intimidation or threats of harm is sufficient to prevent that behaviour occurring. But, in the end, there is the opportunity for action to be taken by the Attorney-General—the gatekeeper—who will make the judgement as to whether or not the action proceeds to the next stage.