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Tuesday, 29 November 1983
Page: 2945

Senator PETER BAUME(8.22) —This might be an appropriate stage to ask the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) to clarify a couple of points about clause 5 of the Bill. It is a brief Bill. Clause 5 is the main clause on the second page. Clause 5 is to try to cope with the election of seven senators, six of whom will be long term senators and one of whom, I take it, will be a short term senator. That is the problem. Under clause 5 (4) the senator last elected is to be a short term senator in effect. In clause 5 (3) special arrangements are made for the two non-sitting senators. There must be at least two non-sitting senators out of seven candidates. Those two non-sitting senators are designated as long term senators. Their time of retirement is shown. Clause 5 (3) states that it is subject to sub-section (4). The problem is, of course, that the same senator could simultaneously be a non-sitting senator qualifying under clause 5 (3) as a long term senator and under clause 5 (4), as the last one elected, as a short term senator. If the Attorney says to me that the words 'subject to sub-section (4)' mean that the person would in fact be a short term senator and that only one non-sitting senator would be long term, that is fine; but then the question arises: Why was it necessary to put in the second part of clause 5 (3)? It really serves no useful purpose. In fact, the only purpose that clause 5 (3) seems to serve is to say that the newly elected senators will have six-year terms, but they would have that anyway. I cannot really see the purpose of clause 5 (3).