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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5312

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (8.34 p.m.) —In short, as we saw it on further reflection, that was because amendment 15 covered most of the ground that was intended to be covered by amendment 14 to clause 24. In fact, we thought that just about everything that needed to be accomplished by amendment 14 was replicated by amendment 15.

   I had an exchange with Senator O'Chee about this in which I explained with some precision why it was that the references in the two provisions to 1 January 1994 were effectively identical for all practical purposes in their impact. That is the reason why we did not move amendment 15 and foreshadowed that we would not. Senator Boswell now asks why we do not proceed to move amendment 15, clause 14 having hit the fence. The short point is that there is every expectation—for exactly the same reasons and with the same numbers—that amendment 15 would hit the fence, too. So it is a quixotic enterprise and a waste of everybody's time.

  That is not to say that we will not give some further consideration to these matters during the actual life of the legislation. In all the circumstances I think it would be appropriate to do so and I indicated as much in an earlier contribution to this debate. But that can be done in the context of the legislation having passed rather than holding the legislation up for further consideration of this kind. It is unlikely to be productive in the present environment. Certainly, we would give consideration to further changes of this kind in the new year.

  The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Teague)—Before calling Senator Boswell, I remind honourable senators that the committee has before it the question that clauses 25 to 39, as amended, be agreed to.