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Thursday, 19 September 1996
Page: 3599

Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs)(10.57 a.m.) —by leave—I raised this matter with Senator Bolkus not that long ago because, as the Senate red indicates, we would otherwise be dealing with the disallowance motion this morning. I understand through advisers that the Attorney-General (Mr Williams) appreciates the concern that has been indicated by the opposition, by you and by Senator Harradine. I simply do not know whether the Australian Democrats and the Greens have been expressing that concern, but they may well have been. He is prepared to look at the setting of the levels of the fees. But it is not possible or sensible, even if it were possible, to make those sorts of decisions in haste over a matter of a day or so without giving it proper consideration and coming up with an alternative package, if that is possible.

If it were dealt with today, one of the difficulties would be that if it were disallowed it would then be another six months. Some people would have paid, then there would be a gap and, if we found a package that was suitable, there would be another rate other than that one and you would end up with a mix of rates within a relatively short space of time.

Alternatively, we could rescind the regulations and come back, and that would have similar consequences of messiness. As a consequence of those matters, I gave an undertaking to Senator Bolkus that we would come back and deal with these matters on the first day. There will be time between now and the next sitting day to resolve whatever is to be resolved and to then deal with it quickly on the first sitting day. So, if it is appropriate, I seek leave to move a motion.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I understand that these six motions will automatically have precedence on the first day they are returned, so there is no need for a motion.

Senator VANSTONE —Perhaps all that I am giving is an undertaking that we will not come back and try to seek to alter that in some way and that we will happily deal with it. Apparently, Senator Bolkus, I do not need to move a motion to do that; they will have precedence.