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Wednesday, 7 March 1984
Page: 511

Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(10.36) —I apologise to Senator Harradine if he has not been kept abreast of the developments in this matter. I was rather under the impression that he had been, simultaneously with other honourable senators. If that understanding is wrong, as it appears to be, I apologise. It is not desired ever to try to make these arrangements in Senator Harradine's absence. I suggest to him that the Judiciary Amendment Bill 1983 is very short; it contains a very short principle. It may well be possible for him to satisfy himself about it during the course of the day. I would be happy to discuss the matter with him if he feels that it is not possible for him to formulate a proper response to this legislation during the course of the day. Equally, I would be happy, as I indicated to Senator Durack, to postpone the debate on this Bill until tomorrow.

But I believe it may be possible to reach an agreement, with a degree of goodwill around the place, to have the matter brought on today which would be helpful in terms of the Government's program and the desire to expedite this matter in order that the question of prosecutions in Victoria can be resolved and people who are on the possible receiving end of such prosecutions can be put out of their present uncertainty. There is a desire to expedite the resolution of this. I hope that, with a degree of goodwill and reasonableness all round, we can reach an agreement. I wish to pursue the motion in its present terms but on the understanding that further consultations will take place. If there seems to be any reasoned basis for opposition to this proceeding today, as distinct from tomorrow, I would be perfectly happy to act accordingly.

Senator Durack —Mr President--

The PRESIDENT —Order! The Attorney-General, by speaking, has closed the debate. Senator Durack will need leave if he wishes to speak on this matter.