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The Chairman of the Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs

(Senator Burns): To move on the next day of sitting--That the

resolutions of the Senate of 30 June 1994 and 24 August 1994 be modified

and combined to read as follows:

That the following matter be referred to the Standing Committee on

Rural and Regional Affairs for inquiry and report on or before the

last sitting day in December 1994:

(a) the impact of assets tests on farming families' access to

social security payments and Austudy;

(b) the implications for such families of exempting their property

and plant, including land, buildings, stock and items

essential to earning a living on the property, from assets

testing; and

(c) the social and economic implications of the assets test

exemption amendment moved in the committee of the whole stage

of the Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2)


Senators Burns and Crane, by leave, made statements relating to the

notice of motion.

Senator Brownhill: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes:

(i) the National Equity Program for schools has recently

been reviewed to determine alternative methods of

allocation of its funds and a report provided to

Government, and

(ii) the concerns of the Australian Early Intervention

Association that it was not consulted at any stage

during the review, or indeed during early intervention

programs, and its requirements were not addressed at

any stage during the report, an omission that has

caused much concern to early intervention service

providers and, more particularly, the parents of young

children requiring special care; and

(b) calls on the Government to ensure that its commitment to

children with disabilities from birth to school age is


Senator Margetts: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes the comments of the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) on Radio

4RK, Rockhampton, on 19 July 1994 and on SBS News Extra on 20

July 1994, in the context of drought relief, that drought is not

an intermittentdisaster but is probably a manifestation of

climatic change effects and is becoming a permanent feature of

the Australian landscape;

(b) recognises the importance of agricultural exports to our

economy, and the impact of climatic disruption on the security

of that sector;

(c) supports the call for the development of a policy to effectively

assist farmers to adjust to changing climatic conditions; and

(d) calls for:

(i) a major commitment of funding to address the longer

term structural problems of an agricultural sector

facing massive climatic disruption,

(ii) provision of assistance to farmers at least equivalent

to drought relief to ameliorate the personal impact of

climate change on these farmers, as well as assistance

in adjusting to new climatic conditions, and

(iii) a strong policy designed to limit the source of the

pollutants that lead to climate change domestically and

support for a strong international protocol to ensure

the reduction of pollutants that may worsen the

climatic instability.

Senator Coulter: To move on 1 September 1994--That there be laid on the

table, before the adjournment of the Senate on 1 September 1994, by the

Minister representing the Minister for Resources (Senator Collins),

copies of correspondence and advice from the Department of Primary

Industries and Energy to:

(a) the Australian Heritage Commission;

(b) the Commonwealth Environment Protection Agency; and

(c) the Minister for Resources (Mr Beddall)

in relation to the Gunns export woodchip licence in Tasmania.

Senator Watson: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes the welfare needs of 6 million superannuation contributors

who could have been excluded from having low cost access to the

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal on matters involving medical

evidence had the Senate not disallowed Statutory Rule No. 56 of


(b) calls on the Government to respond to the issues raised in the

Senate debate on 29 August 1994 on the disallowance motion by

either introducing legislation which appropriately addresses the

genuine needs of the "little people' who from time to time need

low cost access to the justice system, and removes the

considerable concern and confusion in the superannuation

industry which has been occasioned by the Government's ignorance

of community needs in the retirement incomes area, or give an

immediate undertaking that it will ensure that the tribunal has

sufficient resources to meet the demands of its current

regulatory regime; and

(c) congratulates the office of the Parliamentary Secretary to the

Treasurer (Mr Elliott) for indicating that it is possible that

"the Government would not put up another regulation, but make

the necessary changes to ensure the tribunal could handle its

wider role'.

Senator Spindler: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) condemns the failure of the Government to address the

fundamental structural problems of the Australian economy, as

evidenced by the entirely predictable blow-out in the current

account deficit of $1.8 billion for July 1994;

(b) dismisses as a sham the Government's claims of success in

restructuring the economy, in particular, noting that the

recently touted growth in manufacturing output masks a blow-out

in the manufacturing deficit of $8 billion over the past 3

years, accompanied by the loss of some 150 000 jobs in the

manufacturing sector since 1989;

(c) notes, with alarm, that the rising trade deficit in manufactured

goods represents an increasing, rather than the needed

decreasing, reliance on primary production to correct our

balance of payments problems;

(d) observes that the Government's perennial failure to intervene on

the basis of targeted industry strategies has gradually

destroyed the competitiveness of Australia's labour-intensive

manufacturing base, with consequent massive social and regional


(e) notes that one of the most telling examples of Government

inaction is the inadequate support for the scientific research

and high-technology industries which need to be growing faster

still; and

(f) calls on the Government:

(i) to impose import restrictions based on the production

process, for example, minimum labour, safety and

environmentalstandards, to protect Australian industry

from unfair competition from abroad,

(ii) to significantly increase funding for research and

development, education and training,

(iii) to establish a venture and development capital fund to

support new manufacturing enterprises, and

(iv) to develop and implement, as a matter of priority,

co-operative industry strategies for the information

technology industry, the environment industry, and

value-adding industries in food, wool and minerals

processing as part of a new industry policy based on

the responsibility of Government to complement industry

efforts in a deliberate and strategic manner.

Senator Crane: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes that the suffering and hardship of people in severely

drought-affected areas has been exacerbated by policy decisions

made by Labor governments during the 1980s, particularly as a

result of:

(i) abolishing the initial Income Equalisation Deposits

scheme, which ran from 1976 to 1984, and replacing it

with a series of schemes which are disincentive to

farmers and pastoralists becoming self-reliant,

(ii) the massive increase in fuel excise from 7 cents in

1983 to 32 cents today, and

(iii) the multitude of increases in sales taxes; and

(b) calls on the Government:

(i) due to the length and severity of the current drought,

to immediately introduce a fodder subsidy scheme, and

(ii) to suspend the assets test on the various educational

and social benefits and apply only the ordinary income

test while the drought continues.

Senator Brownhill: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes that:

(i) most of the eastern states of Australia are currently

in chronic and desperate drought and that NSW is now 80

per cent drought declared, and

(ii) much of the government assistance on offer will only be

of benefit if farmers survive this current crisis,

which for growing numbers is becoming increasingly

unlikely; and

(b) renews its call for the Federal Government to provide immediate

and appropriate aid in the form of debt alleviation, fodder

subsidies and other immediate assistance which will enable

farmers to remain on their properties and keep their stocks and

herds alive and survive this financial crisis, exacerbated by a

drought, but which had its genesis in this past decade of

inappropriate government economic policies which have created

historically high interest rates and soaring inflation and

policies which took away farmers' ability to insure for their

own future and made them so vulnerable.

Senator Bell: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes:

(i) with approval, that Australia's consumption of

cigarettes per head of population has fallen

dramatically since 1983, according to a report issued

by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and

(ii) that the report shows that, in 1983, 40 per cent of men

were smokers, declining to 29 per cent in 1994, and 29

per cent of women were smokers, declining to 24 per

cent in 1994;

(b) acknowledges that, in the same period, Australian deaths from

coronary heart disease showed a corresponding decline, from 315

per 100 000 for men and 155 per 100 000 for women in 1983, down

to 210 per 100 000 for men and 115 per 100 000 for women in

1992; and

(c) endorses the Government's $3.1 million campaign to educate

teenagers about the effects of smoking.

Senator Margetts: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes:

(i) a US Department of Energy (DoE) report which states

that a nuclear bomb made with commercial-grade

plutonium extracted from UK gas-cooled reactors was

tested underground at the Nevada Test site in 1962,

(ii) that the plutonium was reported to have a nuclear yield

of less than 20 kilotons and was provided under the

terms of the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement, and

(iii) that the US DoE released this information to highlight

potential plutonium proliferation issues and define the

limits of the non-proliferation regime for separated

reactor-grade plutonium;

(b) recognises that this revelation ends the myth that plutonium can

be separated for military and civilian use;

(c) observes that there is not much difference between certain

countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

promoting the transfer of nuclear technology and providing a

nuclear weapons capability to non-nuclear weapons states;

(d) calls on the Government:

(i) to promote safer and cleaner energies than nuclear

energies and to provide the resources for thorough

research and development, and

(ii) to do everything within its power to strengthen the

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and remove the

contradiction s in the role of the IAEA by making it

solely a non-proliferation body, not involved in the

promotion of nuclear technology for non-military uses.

Senator Baume: To move on the next day of sitting--That the Senate--

(a) notes:

(i) the false report by Australian Associated Press (AAP)

on 29 August 1994 that appeared in media around

Australia on 30 August 1994 alleging that the

Opposition said it "would not support' Senator Lees'

notice of motion given on 25 August 1994 congratulating

Ms Cathy Freeman for her outstanding successes at the

Commonwealth Games,

(ii) that, on the contrary, the Coalition did not oppose the

notice of motion after its unsuccessful attempt to

amend it to make the motion non-controversial in line

with normal formal motions to be passed without debate,

and that the motion was then passed unanimously, with

no voice raised in opposition,

(iii) that a large part of the resolution passed was, in

fact, drafted by the Opposition sports spokesman

(Senator Campbell) and incorporated by Senator Lees,

particularly clause four which "commends Cathy for her

pride in her Aboriginal heritage and the inspiration

and encouragement she provides to young Australians and

particularly young Aboriginal Australians',

(iv) that AAP falsely related Senator Campbell's remark,

that the Opposition would not support the motion to

suspend standing orders to debate the issue, with the

actual motion itself,

(v) that Senator Baume said during that debate "I commend

Cathy Freeman for carrying the Aboriginal flag with the

Australian flag' and described her as "a great young

Australian woman athlete who has done her community,

her nation and herself so proud at these Commonwealth

Games' and that other Coalition speakers expressed

similar sentiments, and

(vi) that Senator Lees is quoted by AAP as falsely asserting

that the Coalition "refused to support the motion',

that the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Affairs (Mr Tickner) is quoted as referring to

the Coalition's "opposition to a Senate motion

commending' Cathy Freeman's performance, and that an

anonymous Labor cabinet minister has falsely and

mendaciously briefed the media on a "background' basis,

knowing what he said was false; and

(b) calls on:

(i) AAP to correct its false report,

(ii) Senator Lees to tell the truth,

(iii) Mr Tickner to apologise for his error, and

(iv) the anonymous cabinet minister to stop lying to the