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Details of Government deal with Harradine "a secret": Government and Harradine do deal on CYA legislation

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Australian Democrats Youth Affairs Spokesperson 9 March 1998 MEDIA RELEASE 98/132

DETAILS OF GOVERNMENT DEAL WITH HARRADINE "A SECRET" Government and Harradine do deal on CYA legislation

The Australian Democrats want to know the details of the secret deal between the Government (Senator Jocelyn Newman) and Senator Brian Harradine, the Australian Democrats' Youth Affairs Spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, said today.

Last week Senator Harradine released information explaining his decision to support the Common Youth Allowance Bill because "not to would have meant young people would have missed out on their other benefits in the Bill." Under scrutiny by the Democrats in the Senate, neither the Minister nor Senator Harradine would reveal the contents of the deal.

"Without the contents of this deal, the Senate is in no position to make a proper assessment of this legislation," said Senator Stott Despoja.

"The timing of this deal is vital to the Australian community because they want to know how long they will have to wait for the apparent benefits.

"Can the Minister assure the 12,800 young Australians that they will not be thrown into destitution by the Government's and Senator Harradine's deal?

"46,050 young people will be worse off as a result of this legislation and now we have to add to that the thousands who will have to wait to see if the secret deal excludes them as well.

"What are the guarantees Senator Harradine has received from the Government?

"Secret and backroom deals undermine the very basis of good legislation as we now have no idea what Senator Harradine has extracted from the Government.

"Without the details of this deal we have no way of determining how families will benefit, and we have no guarantees that this deal will lessen the impact of the Bill on young unemployed people or students.

"Without a fully transparent arrangement from the Goverment, there is no way the Senate can make any assessment of the CYA legislation," concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

For comment contact Senator Stott Despoja on (02) 6277 3645 or 0418 812 589