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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3382


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(12.14) —I am a little disappointed that Senator Durack should have chosen to spend 10 minutes debating something which I thought, by agreement, we had already debated in the context of the first amendments dealt with today. We all knew that this was essentially a hypothetical debate. It is not related to the context of the forthcoming referendum. It is simply an argument about what the machinery should be for the future. I made it clear that I was open-minded about what that machinery should be and there will be an opportunity to debate it next year. I thought that we had agreed as a Senate, in the context of the earlier amendments, that, for the moment anyway, in order not to leave the legislation a total mess, we would simply aim at tidying up the existing machinery, which does allow for the form of the ballot paper to be prescribed by regulation. I have believed that that was what we were debating earlier on. I expressed my arguments certainly in my contribution to the earlier debate and I do not propose to repeat them now. I would hope that we could leave the debate in those terms at the moment, on the basis that this matter has already been tested and it really is not something of immediate import. It is something that the Senate will be coming back to next year.