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Wednesday, 4 December 1985
Page: 2957


Senator REID(9.36) —There is a considerable body of legal opinion-lawyers who deal in this particular area have expressed this view to us-that the Bill, as it is presently drawn, is capable of being construed retrospectively. I am heartened to hear the Minister say that the amendment is redundant. It is certainly not the wish of the Opposition to hold up the Bill; the amendment has not been brought forward with a view to holding up the bringing into effect of the Bill. The Minister gave an assurance that the amendment is redundant. It would be helpful if the Minister gave an undertaking that if it became apparent at any time that there was any likelihood of its being interpreted in a way which meant that it was retrospective, the necessary legislation would be brought in to clarify the situation. Certainly, moving the amendment is not intended to delay the Bill as a whole. We would like an assurance that, if necessary, the amendment moved would be introduced if it became apparent that the legislation was being interpreted as some fear it will be. I think that would be of value.