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Wednesday, 7 June 1989
Page: 3508


Senator ROBERT RAY (Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs)(10.30) —We have had an interesting third reading stage speech from Senator Alston which was mainly aimed I thought not so much at the amendment but at heaping abuse on the Australian Democrats with the tried and true method that they are much more sensitive than anyone else here and that if one abuses them long enough they will eventually agree to one of the amendments. There is not much point in doing it to our side because we are not so sensitive to these matters. What we saw in this particular contribution from Senator Alston did not have much relevance to this clause. Nevertheless it summed up his frustration. It was only a week ago that he stood in this chamber and accused me of spitting out the dummy. I tell Senator Alston that his performance on this Bill--


Senator Alston —I didn't use that term.


Senator ROBERT RAY —Senator Alston described my reaction as a fit of pique among other things on the immigration issue. Senator Alston's advice was not to get so personally involved and upset about it. Basically what Senator Alston did-I have commended him for it before-was go to an adult education course on Telecom at Monash University, my old alma mater. One thing Senator Alston should also have done at the same time there was Statistics 1. He would have then realised that he cannot win with 34 votes and I would not have sore feet from walking to 22 divisions last night. But we are straying a fraction from the amendment. Basically the argument was put last night. If Senator Alston had won the argument last night his amendment would have great rationality. But he did not. Where a beneficiary of government regulatory action can be identified, it is our policy to recover costs when we are providing that particular benefit. We also argued that fees are not onerous and that the Government can see no good reason for not applying them.