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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 2822

Senator WALTERS(8.59) —I think the people in the outside world, the real world, deserve a better description of Senator Evan's Bill. It is stated very clearly in the Bill that one cannot discriminate against a prospective employee because of his political opinions. Senator Evans, when asked if he would employ a Liberal, said: `No, of course I would not'. He said that he would be very happy to ask someone. If the person was a member of the Liberal Party or the National Party-I do not know about the Australian Democrats-he would not employ that person. When I asked how he would get out of that problem he said: `Nobody would be silly enough to accept my legislation. In the real world out there people understand that my legislation will not work and that when I say that you must not discriminate against people for their political opinion, that is a lot of rubbish'. I agree with the Minister that people see this legislation as a lot of rubbish but there are people such as this idiot woman in Queensland who says: `No one must ask me whether I am married. I am so sensitive that I break out in a rash if they do'. As Senator Evans says, if someone is stupid enough to take him before the Human Rights Commission he will write a letter. But that is not what happens. Senator Evans ought to read his legislation again. Writing a letter will not suffice.

There would be an inquiry. Senator Evans would have to appear before the Human Rights Commission at a time and date he is given. He is not allowed to write a letter. Does he think that he can get away with writing a letter because he is the Minister representing the Attorney-General and it is his legislation? Is that why he thinks that he can write a letter? The people out there will assure him that he cannot write a letter. I am quite sure that the doctor in Brisbane would assure him that he cannot write a letter but must appear before the Human Rights Commission. Because members of the public are not here they ought to be told that the Minister is wandering around trying to gag the debate because he is unable to explain how he, as Minister representing the Attorney-General and as a Minister in this Government, could get away with breaking the law and writing a letter of explanation that no doubt would satisfy the Human Rights Commission. No other person could do that but Senator Evans could because people in the real world do not take any notice of the fact that Senator Evans would put through such ridiculous legislation.

The CHAIRMAN —The question is: That the amendments moved by Senator Durack, by leave, be agreed to. I will put amendments Nos (1) and (2) together if the Committee agrees. The question is:

That amendments Nos (1) and (2) (Senator Durack's) be agreed to.