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Thursday, 16 December 1993
Page: 4912

Senator BELL (10.22 p.m.) —I foreshadowed the Australian Democrats' response to the proposed amendment, which has now been moved by Senator Teague, during my second reading contribution. We have inquired into the effects which were alleged to be likely to occur by letters from the Hon. Kerry Chikarovski, the New South Wales Minister for Education and the Hon. Norman Moore, the Western Australian minister. It is our contention that those alleged effects are not accurately based.

  Although we agree that the late inclusion of the amendment in the lower house provided a flurry which really should not have occurred and provided reason to question what is going on, we believe that we have a proposition which would satisfactorily encompass the powers of the minister. To some extent, it rightly hinges on the question of how the minister shall form an opinion. There is always some conjecture as to how ministers of the crown form an opinion, but in this case we offer a little guidance that that opinion should be formed in consultation with the authority. For the reason that we have put some work in and found out just what the consequences will be, we will not be supporting the coalition's amendment but foreshadow an amendment to have another effect.