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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2164

Senator COOK (Minister for Industry, Technology and Regional Development) (11.51 a.m.) —On that last point mentioned by Senator Watson, when he characterised this as throwing it back to the government rather than going via a committee, I must say that the advice before me from the Attorney-General (Mr Lavarch) is quite clear and unequivocal, as legal advice goes. Often, legal advice does weigh matters and there are delicate shades of grey transparently between the words of the advice. In looking at this advice, I see that that is not the case; it is fairly black and white.

  However, as Senator Watson has asked, I should be courteous enough to acknowledge that I would be prepared to ask the Attorney to re-examine the advice that has been put in view of the comments made by honourable senators in this chamber. I would have to say, though, in honesty, given the unequivocal nature of this advice, that it is unlikely that it would change. If Senator Watson's request is that we should ask the Attorney again to re-examine it, I am happy to comply; and again I state that I am happy to agree to any proposal to take the matter to a committee.