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Wednesday, 21 April 1999
Page: 3988

Senator COOK (11:28 AM) —by leave—I note and respect the remarks made by those senators who by leave have intervened in the debate again. I would like to very briefly make some points on what has been put. Firstly, we will not be accepting the amendment to our amendment from Senator Margetts of the Greens (WA). We think it is appropriate to state the record on this. I am disappointed that the Greens (WA) feel that that is not the case, but I do trust that if their amendment is not successful they will feel able to vote for the substantive motion. But that is a matter to be arrived at very shortly.

Senator Harradine has raised a point. I respect the remarks he has made. From the Labor Party point of view, it is a matter of fundamental principle that Australia should have tax reform but it should not have a GST. The most profound way we can state that is by rejecting the bills at this stage. That is what we would prefer this Senate to do and I hope the Senate can find itself obliged to support us. My remarks to the Democrats are the same. I understand that they have foreshadowed a number of amendments to the legislation; we simply believe that you cannot make this legislation fair and, therefore, we insist on our amendment.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Murphy) —The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Margetts to Senator Cook's proposed amendment be agreed to.

Question resolved in the negative.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Cook in respect of A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Bill 1998 be agreed to.