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Thursday, 16 December 1993
Page: 4879

Senator CROWLEY (Minister for Family Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) (6.04 p.m.) —I think it is important that this debate happen. It is also important that it not be trawled on too long here. Those matters that I have raised I think I have clarified. In fact, I do not believe by any understanding that we are debating the migration regulations 1993.

  The interesting thing, in just listening to Senator Harradine's contribution, was that he too intertwined the words `relationship' and `couple'. It is difficult to describe a couple without using the word relationship, but I am actually trying to make it clear, not obfuscate. It is not assisting the passage of this legislation to insist on those kinds of confusions.

Senator Harradine —What regulation? Just tell us that.

Senator CROWLEY —I thought I had, but I will read to Senator Harradine what I have here. The best I can give Senator Harradine is that it is migration regulations 1993, schedule 2—paragraph 305.32 and 305.321. It is certainly a matter for debate and I will be very prepared to follow it up with Senator Harradine, but I do not believe it is assisting this legislation at all.

  What is clear is that clause 5 as amended by the government seeks to put beyond any doubt the definition of a family and the definition of partnership. In this legislation `partnering' is the word used and that is consistent with the social security legislation. It has been in place in Australian law for quite some time.

  I believe that we would be very assisted in this matter if we held over the debate. I am very prepared to take it up with Senator Harradine elsewhere the confusion that he seems to be wanting to highlight. I do not believe there is any confusion about the matter before the committee; that is, the definition of clause 5 as amended. I have brought that amendment back to put it beyond any doubt. I do think this matter would be expedited if we put the motion, passed it and moved on.