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Tuesday, 14 December 1993
Page: 4577


Senator BISHOP —by leave—The man who purports to be the Leader of the Government in this chamber, Senator Gareth Evans, wandered in with his wet hair—presumably after having a swim—and told us that the government will do its best to try to get things into this chamber so that they can be properly debated. I have got news for the government: the Australian people do not think the government's best is good enough; they say that `near enough is good enough' is the motto of this government.

  Again and again we have heard from the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) about this bill that he has put together; this bill which is supposed to solve the problems that arise from the High Court's decision in Mabo II. Anyone who has read the legislation would know that that will not occur. We see that the legislation which we are to begin debating tonight is not in the form which is to be finally presented to the Australian people as the so-called solution.  Any government worth its salt would adjourn this parliament right now. If those amendments are not on the table first thing in the morning then we should refuse to debate the bill further.

  Senator Gareth Evans says that he will do his best. Senator Evans, who does not even have the courtesy to remain in the chamber, ought to know that his best is not good enough. Right now, a motion should be brought on to adjourn the Senate. The government should burn the midnight oil to try to get those amendments here first thing in the morning. If not, the debate should be postponed until such time as the government in its muddle-headed wombat way at least knows what it is proposing.