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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5231

Senator CRANE —Mr Chairman—

Senator Gareth Evans —Is it a personal explanation?

Senator CRANE —No, it is not a personal explanation. I am asking the Chairman for some procedural direction. I would like to comment on some aspects of Senator Evans' reply to Senator Hill. Do I have to seek leave to do that?

The CHAIRMAN —The honourable senator requires the leave of the Senate.

Senator CRANE —I seek leave to address one point.

  Leave granted.

Senator CRANE —I would like to raise one issue. Senator Evans said that amendment 33A and amendment 33B were in essence the same. If honourable senators look at both the amendments, they will see that one of them is half a page and the other one is a whole page. They are substantially different. I suggest that Senator Evans has not read or carefully studied these amendments.

Senator Gareth Evans —Can I explain and cut this short? There was an original amendment 33A moved, then there was a revised one which is much longer and which should have been numbered 33B. When that amendment was put around the Senate on Saturday it had the notation 33A which did produce confusion because senators had both a short amendment and a long amendment with the 33A notation on it. The 33B notation has been put on the longer version. There is clearly a difference between those two. The only amendment that is relevant, as I understand it, is the one marked 33B. I understand perfectly what Senator Crane is saying and it is unfortunate. The only one Senator Crane needs to take notice of is 33B. The others have no status.

Senator CRANE —No. Senator Evans does not want me to say this. This confirms precisely and exactly what Premier Goss from Queensland said. He said, `We have amendments on amendments; there is confusion on confusion', et cetera.

Senator Gareth Evans —Because this is a parliament. This is a legislative chamber. That is what happens in parliaments—you have amendments.

Senator CRANE —Senator Evans does not really want me to say this. Effectively amendment 33B allows those holders of native title to breach by definition the laws of the state.

Senator Gareth Evans —I raise a point of order. Senator Crane was given leave in order to raise a procedural question, not to embark upon a substantive debate. The procedural issue must have been resolved by my reply telling him that there is only one of those pieces of paper which has any status, the one marked 33B. Accordingly, any other discussion must be about matters of substance. Senator Crane is now going to those matters of substance. Might I suggest that you ask him to desist, Mr Chairman, and confine himself purely to procedural matters? We will have ample opportunity to debate that point when we get to it.

The CHAIRMAN —There is some validity in what Senator Evans says, but I think Senator Crane said he would only be half a minute so he might take just half a minute.

Senator CRANE —I will only be half a minute because this is very relevant to what the minister said. The amendment permits breach of season laws which are administered by state governments, endangered species, flora and fauna laws, pollution laws and noise abatement laws, et cetera. They can kill koalas, platypuses and echidnas and eat them with impunity. Under this amendment they can deliberately light bush fires. This sets up a different class of laws and all the problems with it. There is a significant difference and I believe the minister has misled this chamber.