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Tuesday, 16 October 1984
Page: 1785

Senator JACK EVANS(8.53) —I will not take up the time of the Senate also by making a second reading speech to the Customs Tariff Bills under the guise of a third reading speech, as has just happened. It is quite clear that we are in an election campaign environment. Senator Rae obviously does not understand the purport of the Australian Democrats amendment. Having lost the division, his attitude is vastly different from the attitude he usually displays when the Australian Democrats vote with his party. This apparently is going to be the pattern from here on; whichever way we vote we are going to get a third reading squeal from the party on whose side the Democrats have not voted.

I make it quite clear that the Australian Democrats have not proposed a new tax . The amendment relating to the Customs Tariff (Coal Export Duty) Amendment Bill simply asks the Government to have a look, in terms of the Liberal Party amendment, at the existing severe economic circumstances affecting the coal industry. All of that is still there, including the reference to the discriminatory nature of the remaining levy. We are asking for a positive, constructive investigation, whereas the Liberals, at the end of their fatuous amendment, indicate that the Liberal Party has proposed the complete removal of the duty since 1976. But they did not do a damn thing about it in those eight years and now, shortly after being thrown out of government, they suddenly discover the virtue of that suggestion and want to impose it on the Government of the day. I would find some merit in Senator Rae's amendment if the Liberals had taken steps themselves in the eight years that they had it as part of their policy and were in government.

I hope Senator Rae will accept that the Australian Democrats' amendment was in fact the constructive face of his own amendment. It was inserted to ensure that his amendment went through with a constructive edge to it, and was not an amendment along the lines originally proposed with the Democrats would have had to vote against. Now he has three-quarters of his amendment and a constructive amendment, in total, has been passed by the Senate.

Senator Button —Mr President, might I ask that Senator Rae table the document from which he quoted at considerable length during his speech?

The PRESIDENT —Senator Button, under the Standing Orders you would be required to move a motion that he table the document.

Senator Button —I ask that he table it.

Senator Peter Rae —What document do you mean?

Senator Button —Relating to the Australian Customs Service.

Senator Peter Rae —Certainly. It is the Liberal and National parties policy document on industry and commerce. It is a very good policy and I can commend it for reading.

The PRESIDENT —I understand that Senator Peter Rae would have to seek leave to table the document if no motion is moved.

Senator Peter Rae —The Minister asked whether I would table the document. I am perfectly happy to table it. If the Standing Orders preclude me from tabling it other than by seeking leave, I am quite happy to table a copy by seeking leave. It is a policy, the preparation of which I was personally involved in, and which was announced in August of this year as the policy on industry and commerce by the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia. I do ask that I be allowed to table a copy which does not have marks under the particular bits that I have found useful. I seek leave to table a copy of the policy.

Leave granted.