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Thursday, 20 June 1996
Page: 1925

Senator BOLKUS(1.13 p.m.) —I do have a number of questions and I start by asserting that, as Senator Evans said just a few seconds ago, this is a bill of the government's and it is a bill that does fund the buyback scheme. The government should really have anticipated that questions going to the ambit of the buyback scheme would have been quite relevant to this particular legislation.

This legislation is important in the sense that it is a bipartisan approach we are taking here. In the spirit of that bipartisanship, I do not want to labour the point other than to say that I am here—although I am not the spokesperson on health matters—in my capacity of shadowing the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice because the important aspect of this legislation is to underpin the buyback scheme. The issues that I will be raising go to the ambit of the scheme to be funded and the adequacy of the funding arrangements that this legislation covers.

Firstly, Senator Short, let me take you to the bill and ask: in terms of the date of royal assent of the legislation, could you give us an indication when the government anticipates that the act will come into effect?