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Thursday, 16 December 1993
Page: 4806


Senator CROWLEY (Minister for Family Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) (12.33 p.m.) —I have made my position quite clear. It seems that Senator Harradine is still suggesting that I am trying to use this bill as an underhanded or sneaky piece of legislation to define a family. It is precisely because I do not want to be sneaky or underhanded, or distract from the debate in the International Year of the Family, that I have brought in this amendment.

  As to what the ABS survey does, or what advice the OSW gives, that is entirely irrelevant to this legislation. If that is something I can assist Senator Harradine with at another time, I certainly will. Senator Harradine is not correct in saying that this is the first time that legislation has defined families or couples in this way. I refer Senator Harradine to the migration regulations legislation, 1993. It is not as though it is without precedent.

  I have also been advised that it has been proposed at other times but that it has not been proceeded with. However, they are distractions. We are dealing with cash rebate legislation. I take the point about pre-empting debate in the International Year of the Family as a very serious one. That is why this legislation has been amended to deal with the matter of cash rebate. We are not trying to use it as a carriage for the debate about the family. That is for debate in the International Year of the Family, and that is where it properly belongs. I do not have anything further to add.