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Friday, 4 May 1984
Page: 1579

Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)(9.27) —As I understand it, the Minister for Transport (Mr Peter Morris) has discussed the legislation with Senator Jack Evans. As the honourable senator will appreciate, the only amendment that was circulated dealt with the levy arrangements which were designed to introduce an amendment associated with a money Bill. Until such time as the amendment was moved by Senator Peter Rae in respect of clause 5, it was not in the hands of the Government to debate or discuss the consequential amendment. It now appears that one or two members in the Opposition-I am excluding the Australian Democrats-on the basis of my statement this morning, do appreciate that perhaps there is a need to reconsider this matter and for a conference to be held with the Minister for Transport in order to clarify the views that have been expressed by Senator Jack Evans. Having regard to the fact that the Minister made a statement on 12 February that this would be the course of action that would be taken, he has been placed in a very difficult position as a result of the decision taken by the Senate on Wednesday. Whilst it is true that the Minister has not yet approved any exemptions, nevertheless I understand he currently has some of them before him. I am wondering whether the Committee would be prepared to report progress on this matter so that the difference that does exist in this chamber in view of what has been said to me by some Queensland senators in respect of this legislation, may be clarified, with a view to not only not embarrassing the Government but also the State governments concerned that have agreed to the arrangements and made certain submissions on this matter to the Minister. That would be preferable to putting us in a position in which clause 5 is rejected by this chamber.

Therefore, I suggest that a few days delay would not create as much embarrassment as would be created if we were to proceed with the discussion of the Bill. Even though I appreciate that Senator Boswell, who has raised the matter with me, is seeking consultation on the matter with his colleague, perhaps the Senate would be prepared to report progress until such time as clause 5 can be clarified. I move:

That progress be reported.

Question put.