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Friday, 17 December 1993
Page: 4935


Senator SCHACHT (Minister for Science and Small Business and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Science) (9.29 a.m.) —I can give the Senate the assurance that, when I gave that information, it was an example. It is not limited to the Aboriginal community. I am advised that the process of the minister's discretion will be a public and transparent arrangement whereby people can put submissions to the minister and publicly find information about why the discretion has been used in certain ways. If there is a concern in the community about the use of the minister's discretion, then that will be publicly available to be debated. If there are complaints about it, then there will be a public debate. I think that alone should be a major reassurance to the Senate: it is publicly available.

  I want to emphasise to Senator Teague a point about the definition of `reasonably'. As he is probably aware, I have expressed concern, as have many others, about lawyers getting involved in these areas. It will be a field day for them to determine what is `reasonably'. I suppose schools will end up paying lawyers to argue over this, when that money should be spent on the education of children. So the bill should stand as printed. I appreciate the comments of all honourable senators, but particularly those of Senator Harradine and Senator Bell.