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Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Page: 4

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (12:56 PM) —Under the Legislative Instruments Act, it is not a disallowable instrument. So the Senate, the parliament, could not exercise that power. All the other powers of the Senate that apply to any tabled document are available. I am sure you know as well as I do that there are a range of ways you can progress a matter, should you disagree with it. In addition, given that we on this side of the table do not have the numbers in this place, we always run the risk—the debate having been started—of having to defend these matters and deal with the other powers that the Senate might want to bring to bear in respect of these types of issues. That is why it is tabled in parliament—to provide the opportunity for not only the opposition and the minor parties to see what that written advice is but also the public to understand the general schema of how these things work.

In my experience, it is a matter that is not generally brought to bear very often. It is one of those where, when it is brought to bear, there is usually broad agreement about why it is being brought forward and usually the minister responsible will provide that general advice. I cannot foresee the circumstances, but my understanding is that certainly in my portfolio you could see circumstances where you might want to do that. Of course, in doing so you do provide the parliament with the opportunity to look at why you are doing it and to criticise the action or agree with the action.