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Thursday, 21 June 2001
Page: 28262


Mr McMULLAN (Manager of Opposition Business) (9:37 AM) —I think that the House perhaps needs a little more explanation and you may well not be in a position to provide it. It may have to come from the government rather than from the parliament; it is not yet clear to me. As to where the error that caused this rescission to be necessary was made, was it within the parliament or within the originating department, which I assume is the Department of Family and Community Services or perhaps the Department of Veterans' Affairs? That is, on the face of it, what seems to be the case. Also, what, if any, are the consequences of the intervening period of slightly more than one month in which there was a bill with assent, and therefore probably in every way proper, under which people might operate, but containing some error? What actions took place in that intervening period? What, if any, are the consequences of the subsequent rescission of that assent, and are there any consequences for citizens? That, I think, is unlikely, given what I see as the chain of events, but of course I cannot be aware of all of them. It seems on the face of it that there should not be any consequences for citizens, but I would like to be assured of that. I particularly would like you either to give directly, if it is within your power to do so, or, if not, to facilitate through the government some explanation to the House about how this error might have occurred and what, if any, were its consequences. I thank you for the opportunity.