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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5237

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —by leave—I understand what Senator Vanstone is saying. The government is confident about the constitutionality of this clause. There is no conflict between what I have said now and what I have said previously. I was not quite sure when I spoke before—nor were the officers. They believed that there was no specific advice prepared on clause 11 or the laws of general application issue. That remains the case.

  There was no specific advice, as with so many other things that are done in the course of drafting. There is a received body of doctrine or understanding. That is largely internalised with the draftsmen anyway. If they need to discuss an aspect of that, they will do so with officers of the Attorney-General's Department. That does not mean that there is formal written advice flowing backwards and forwards on those particular issues.

Senator Vanstone —No. I understand about the verbal advice.

Senator GARETH EVANS —There may or may not have been. While Senator Vanstone was talking, I was checking. We will put together this afternoon something in the nature of an advice which explains clearly the basic reasoning of the Commonwealth on this issue, and that will be made available to those opposite.