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Tuesday, 15 December 1992
Page: 5044

Senator CROWLEY (6.28 p.m.) —I oppose this amendment and we will be happy to support the Minister and the Government in opposing it. Senator Patterson says, `Wait until June next year'. Is Senator Patterson asking us to believe that then those opposite will actually ratify this legislation? It is quite illogical to waste time worrying about changing clause 1 or the date of assent when we know full well that those opposite have no intention of implementing this legislation. Those opposite must take us for monkeys if they think that that is a persuasive argument.

Senator Patterson —That's why you're ramming it through now.

Senator CROWLEY —Is Senator Patterson saying she approves the intent of this legislation and would actually pass it if we put the assent day back until June? That is nonsense. What happened last Friday? It was the cheapest political stunt I have ever seen—Commonwealth-State negotiations conducted in a Senate committee. It was an absolute shambles and a complete dishonouring of proper process. We were there to discuss legislation, not trawl across facts and figures and myths and legends. It was a plain political stunt, and Senator Patterson knows it. She got the questions before she went. As for standing up here and saying that senators from other States were not there, that is a very mean and limited complaint. With this legislation we have the opportunity to get the Medicare agreement through—not by deferring it until June, not by moving a strange amendment to defer the date of assent, but by passing this legislation tonight.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.

The CHAIRMAN —The question before the Chair is that amendment No. 1, as moved by Senator Patterson, be agreed to.

  Amendment negatived.