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Tuesday, 3 April 1984
Page: 1148


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(10.14) —I thank the Opposition for its support of the Quarantine Amendment Bill. I believe, as does everyone in this place, that the importance of an efficient quarantine system should be of bilateral, or perhaps even trilateral, agreement in this place. I echo the words of Senator Scott: Australia is a large continent with a large land mass and a large sea border. Fortunately, Australia is free of many of the plant and animal diseases which affect the rest of the world. It is important that we maintain that situation for as long as we can. One of the means by which we can do so is by making the penalties for a breach of our quarantine regulations more in keeping with the severity of the offence. Another is to make our surveillance more efficient. I can assure honourable senators that that is what this Government is about. I believe this Bill, in a small way, assists in that regard. The legislation, as has been acknowledged in both Houses, is the culmination of efforts of Ministers and former Ministers from both sides of the House. I think it is an important, even though small, piece of legislation. I thank the Opposition, particularly Senator Scott, for its speedy passage and commend it to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.