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Wednesday, 11 September 1996
Page: 3243

Senator MARGETTS(11.55 a.m.) —I would like to echo the comments of Senator Kernot. It is not necessary for us to have a say. We do have a say but, as Senator Bob Collins says, sometimes that say is effective and sometimes, when it is a matter of censure, it is not. We only have to see how often debates in relation to previous ministers were ignored—

Senator Kernot —Badges of honour.

Senator MARGETTS —They were, as Senator Kernot mentions, worn as badges of honour. They were ignored. Some people say those mechanisms have no guarantees of working. If there were an automatic ability for a debate on disallowance, then the Senate would be able to vote, not for us to have a say but for time to enable communities which would be affected by what might be arbitrary ministerial decisions based on political expediency—and we have seen some evidence of that—to have a say through their elected representatives. We have seen scapegoating to a horrible extent as a result of the budget and pre-budget decisions. Were scapegoating to occur via ministerial edict, then that mechanism would be necessary to allow the people most affected to have a say. That is the importance of this measure and that is why I was hoping the Labor Party would support it. Obviously, it was a vain hope.

   Question put:

   That the amendment (Senator Margetts's ) be agreed to.