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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2492


Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)(5.01) —Obviously the Government will oppose the Opposition's amendments. As Senator Lewis has been given leave to incorporate his reasons in Hansard, I obviously do not have a copy of them and I therefore find it difficult to respond to them; but that is not a criticism. We are confronted with some difficulties. We accept the fact that the Scrutiny of Bills Committee has some responsibilities and obligations in these matters, but we appreciate that as a result of the decision of the Senate there is a sunset clause. Unless the House of Representatives can deal with this matter tomorrow, the whole legislation will be in limbo. The House of Representatives will not come back after tomorrow's sitting and the effects that will have upon the determining system and upon the new improvements made in the legislation will be quite horrendous. We do not want to place anyone in a disadvantaged position in that respect.

The Senate is entitled to make its decision, but the House of Representatives too is entitled to make its decision. Accordingly, at some time there will have to be a reconciliation of what may be a variance of views. We cannot have the situation unresolved. There will have to be agreement either with the legislation or the amendments that have been made by the Senate. We have time problems. If we cannot get this legislation completed by tomorrow, it will be impossible to have the Governor-General's consent and all the essential protocols and procedures which are required to have the Veteran's Entitlements Bill in place by 5 December. I ask the Senate to take that into consideration in these matters.

While I will forgo my right of reply on each of the detailed objections or views which have been expressed by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee, I think it has to be said that the Government ultimately will have to make a decision in the House of Representatives on where it stands on the matter and obviously send it back to the Senate.