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Thursday, 10 May 1984
Page: 1902

Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)(11.13) —I should respond on behalf of the Government because I have been advised that there are a small number of cases waiting for approval as a result of the Government's decision to agree to introduce the legislation. Senator Peter Rae asked why that provision was contained in the Bill. Representations were made to the Commonwealth by some of the States which wanted that authority because in the previous legislation there was no such authority. We have been arguing about the application of the Minister's prerogative in all the circumstances that we have canvasssed many times. The fact is that we sought to make the provision retrospective to that date because it is since that date that the representations have been made to us. Having regard to the fact that the legislation would come into effect, say, as from tomorrow, it would not have been able to be applied to those cases in the respective States which have made representations to us. Now that the Committee has seen fit to amend clause 5 by deleting two paragraphs which were unacceptable to the majority of honourable senators, this provision in clause 2 (2) does not really make a great deal of difference. The Bill will come into effect based only upon what is now contained in clause 5, and the Minister will apply the provisions in accordance with the decision of the Committee.