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Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Page: 8840


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (19:18): I might come in on that point. First of all, I come back to the question of trust. I do not think it is wise for us to work on the basis of legislation predicated on whether or not the minister is a nice person. Right. I think there is a suggestion here that the minister here is a man of integrity, and so be it. That is not the basis on which we legislate, because ministers do not stay forever. One of the harsh realities of political life is that we will all be replaced. The fact remains that we have to rely on what these documents actually say. Senator Xenophon is quite right: the explanatory memorandum is used as an aid to interpretation. These words are at best ambiguous and at worst quite deceptive, because they suggest that there has to be a consideration of a person's contribution to the Australian community. That is what the words actually say. If the minister's discretion is dependent on that in the circumstance where a person is actually brought to the country for the purpose of exploiting them on a 457 visa then of course their connections with this country are going to be, one presumes, quite limited.

So it strikes me that we do have to rely on what is before us, not just on the good intentions of the minister of the day.

Senator Nash: You weren't listening.

Senator KIM CARR: I was listening and I indicate to you that I still do not believe that you have given us an adequate explanation for what these words mean.

Progress reported.