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Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Page: 118

Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) (8:52 PM) —Could I just make the point that it is a unique legislative process. It was a quick committee reference and we appreciate the cooperation of the senators who facilitated that reference and we appreciate that it was short notice for the stakeholders. Although it may have been a quick turnaround, in my own memory in this Senate the Labor Party when they were in power in 1990 brought the corporations legislation—you were probably on the committee, Mr Temporary Chairman Watson—before the Finance and Public Administration Committee. This is the Corporations Law that set up an entire new corporate regulatory structure, which has since been challenged in the High Court. I think Senator Conroy knows the rest of the history. The Labor Party in power had a one-night hearing into the entire Corporations Law—

Senator Conroy —On the same day?

Senator IAN CAMPBELL —On the same day and reported it back and passed it through the Senate with the cooperation of one very young and quite handsome 30-year-old senator!

Government senators interjecting—

Senator IAN CAMPBELL —He was then!

Senator Conroy —Are you talking about Senator Watson?

Senator IAN CAMPBELL —He was a pretty cute-looking little bloke this backbencher! That did occur. It was a one-night hearing and it was passed through the parliament the next day. The reference probably was not on that day—I am sure that the Clerk will send me a note in the morning reminding me exactly when it was referred. The hearing was held on one night and the bill was passed through the chamber the next day. So it is not entirely unprecedented, but clearly there are special circumstances here: the legislation has been introduced in a relatively late sitting because the election was in October and the Senate resumed only a few weeks after that. I am glad to know that the Senate has agreed it is desirable to pass this legislation before we adjourn in a couple of days time. I appreciate that cooperation.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Watson)—The question is that items 11 and 13 of schedule 1 stand as printed.

Question put.