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Wednesday, 10 May 1989
Page: 2143

Senator BOLKUS (Minister for Consumer Affairs)(10.26) —I wish to follow up the suggestion made by Senator Ray. If we look at the legislation and the recommendations emanating from the Joint Select Committee on Corporations Legislation, we see something like 30 packages of amendments on the table from the Government, the Australian Democrats or the Opposition. Of those I would imagine that only something like half a dozen are cause for any great dispute.

Senator Hill —That is your judgment.

Senator BOLKUS —In reply to Senator Hill, those amendments have come up through the Joint Select Committee and most of them have been recommended unanimously by that Committee. I think the approach suggested by Senator Ray, that we consider those on which there is unanimous agreement, both within the Joint Select Committee and in terms of the Government responding positively to the recommendations of that Committee, could probably be adopted without any real danger of upsetting any honourable senator on the Opposition side

Senator Hill —You can push through whatever you like because you have the numbers but it will not result in good legislation or goodwill in this place.

Senator BOLKUS —What I am suggesting in terms of good will is that we go through the parts that are not in dispute.

Senator Hill —What you say are not in dispute.

Senator BOLKUS —I say they are not in dispute because, in our discussions in the past few days, there has been a fair degree of acceptance of the Government's positive responses.

Senator Hill —So far as I am concerned, and between Senator Macklin and yourself, but there are other senators in this place. That is the point I am making.

Senator BOLKUS —I know that but the honourable senator should not say the discussions took place only between Senator Macklin and me, because he was involved in the discussions as well.

Senator Hill —I included myself. I said it.

Senator BOLKUS —I do not know how we are to approach this matter. We have 33 packages of amendments all of which are responses to the Joint Select Committee's report. The Government has accepted something like 28 of them, in ballpark figures, and all of those amendments came up through the unanimous recommendations process of the Committee. If we bent backwards to accommodate Senator Hill we would be doing nothing but accommodating continual frustration at this stage. I say that, despite the conversations we have had in recent days, because the understanding we have had recently is that we would defer yesterday's consideration in order to ensure that we would have a cooperative approach to this legislation and the amendments today.