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Tuesday, 13 December 1983
Page: 3693

Senator WALTERS(8.44) —I thank the Minister. I would have imagined that she would have had an equal burning interest to know how many people in Australia were objecting to the Sex Discrimination Bill.

Senator Sibraa —Petitions prove nothing.

Senator WALTERS —We are told by a Government back bencher that petitions mean nothing. I hope that the Australian people do not really take him seriously because, according to our Australian Constitution and the Standing Orders in this place, petitions do mean something. The honourable senator arrogantly tells the Australian people that the petitions they have been signing mean nothing to the Government. I can assure him that the petitions meant something to my Party when it was in government. I can assure the honourable senator that there will be a totally different philosophy if the Australian Labor Party tells us that petitions mean nothing.

Can the Minister tell me the number of up to date signatures that have come into the Senate that are either against the Bill, asking for amendments, or are against the International Convention? Can the Minister also tell me how many signatures have come into the Senate that are in agreement with either the Bill or the Convention?