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Thursday, 27 June 1996
Page: 2375


Senator SPINDLER(1.29 p.m.) —Mr Acting Deputy President, I, too, must express my severe disappointment with the change of tack by the opposition. As I have said before, this bill is one that will result in a loss of jobs. I cannot understand why this government is prepared to risk the jobs of Australians just to fortify its position in relation to a so-called black hole which is based on very rubbery economic growth figures which are changing day by day. I had hoped that the opposition, being the workers' party, would have had some concern for that. But I was wrong. It has not. The amendments being touted as the reason for this change of tactic, of throwing the bill out at the second reading—which is what this chamber should do and which is what the Democrats have committed themselves to support—are really not based on any difference of substance. What they do mean is that the opposition, as much as the government, is selling out on the question of Australian industries and on the question of employment. Both the minister and the shadow minister will have to take responsibility for that.

I think it is an appalling piece of legislation. I do not quite know what to do, frankly, about this second reading amendment, because it is pretty well useless in the present situation. Having stated the Democrats' position, that we do not believe the consumer goods part of this bill is the major problem—the business inputs are the major problem—the Democrats will not vote for this second reading amendment.