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Friday, 7 September 1984
Page: 680

Senator PETER BAUME(3.37) —The Opposition was unhappy with the form in which the Australian National University Amendment Bill first appeared because of the retrospective element and because of the commencement date which was included in clause 2. We are pleased that the Government has now acknowledged, I think in response to Australian Democrat and Opposition concern, that that was not acceptable to us. I make the point that this piece of legislation, which came before us in the middle of 1984 and which we are considering only now in the Budget session of 1984 in the last weeks of this Parliament, sought to have as its commencement date 1 January this year, some eight or nine months ago. I think, had there been no words of objection from the non-government side of the Parliament, that is the way in which it would have gone through. Not only is it a piece of legislation which we think is inappropriate and incorrect but also it is a piece of legislation which would have had as its commencement date 1 January this year-some eight or nine months ago. It could have been applied by the institutions back to the first day of enrolment this year. I must say that I am grateful to the Government for making this amendment. I cannot undestand why, in introducing this legislation during 1984, the Government sought to give it a commencement date that was so clearly inappropriate.

Among the amendments that have been circulated on behalf of the Opposition is one that goes to clause 2. I want to make it clear that we are unhappy with the Government proposing and introducing legislation which is clearly defective. The Government is deeming things to have come into operation on 1 January. In fact, the Bill removes protection and certain conditions that could affect the position of students who enrolled this year. In view of the Government's acknowledgment of its error in this matter, it is now unnecessary to move amendment No. 1, which has been circulated on behalf of the Opposition, to the Australian National University Amendment Bill. If the Government moves similar amendments to the Canberra College of Advanced Education Bill, we will not move amendment No. 1 to clause 2 of that Bill.