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Wednesday, 14 December 1983
Page: 3802


Senator CHIPP (Leader of the Australian Democrats)(9.22) —The Australian Democrats cannot support any of the amendments now moved or foreshadowed by the Opposition. Essentially we agree with the reasons given by the Minister for Communications (Mr Duffy) in the House of Representatives debate on the Postal and Telecommunications Amendment Bill. The amendments moved and to be moved by the Opposition in the Senate, as I understand it, are identical to the amendments moved in the House of Representatives. We could well have a fascinating, interesting and long debate on those amendments and the reasons for them. I just wonder whether, at this time of year and with the condition in which the Committee finds itself, that would be appropriate. All I say is that the Democrats have carefully studied the arguments put forward by Mr Lloyd, the Opposition spokesman for communications in the House of Representatives, and the replies of the Minister, Mr Duffy, and we concur with the Government's view on these amendments. Therefore, we will not be able to support the Opposition's amendments on this or the other matters raised.