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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 608

Senator LUDLAM (Western AustraliaCo-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (12:59): Thank you, Minister—that was actually quite helpful, and it feels as though we are not that far apart. In fact, I think I agree with everything that you put. The distinction that I am trying to draw is that, the way the bill is currently drafted, an obligation will not apply to an entity unless it believes that serious harm has occurred. The distinction that you are drawing between trivial or nonharmful conduct and harmful conduct is precisely where I think we should be drawing the line, but the bill, as drafted, does not do that. Presently, an entity can decide—after the maximum of 30 days and after it has expeditiously done its assessment—that it has in fact caused harm and still not be caught by the bill, because it might have decided that it was not serious harm. I am at a bit of a loss, Senator Brandis, because I agree with your description of how the bill should work but I do not think it is how the bill will work. My reading is that the amendment the Australian Greens are putting forward would draw the bill closer to the way that you just described you believe it should operate.