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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5319


Senator VANSTONE (9.11 p.m.) —I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Gareth Evans) and I happily accept his undertaking. I bypass his statement with respect to amendments, other than to say that it shows what debate can do without necessarily raising amendments. Those opposite are the government, and this is their bill—


Senator Gareth Evans —Well, I am not sure whether you have a point or not. We will just have a look at it.


Senator VANSTONE —I think the minister can see that there is a point. I am grateful so I will not go on about it at length, but it is all very well for the minister to say that he cannot foresee this happening. I have not looked through his records, but I deeply suspect from the tone of his debate that he has little or no commercial experience and, therefore, it does not surprise me that he cannot foresee this happening.

  The minister says that it may be a rare experience. I can tell the minister that if people do not have third party property insurance and just once in their lives, in a beaten up old bomb such as 17- and 18-year-olds drive, they smash into a chain of Rolls Royces and cause a chain collision, this rare occurrence, of the kind that the minister does not necessarily foresee happening, can cost people an enormous amount of money. I think that this case is like that. It may not be gamesmanship when parties announce that, for one reason or another, they are not proceeding. It may not be a frequent occurrence that economic conditions change or there is a natural disaster or something such that someone does not want to proceed, but where that is the case and everything else is equal, it seems silly to make everybody start the process all over again. I am grateful that the minister has given an undertaking to have a look at it.