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Labor continues to block law reform.

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12 March 1998





Labor's legal spokesman Senator Bolkus is failing the Parliament and the Australian public with mindless obstructionism to much needed law reform.


Today Labor signalled that it will continue to oppose the Legislative Instruments Bill despite the fact that it is essentially the same bill Labor proposed in 1994 and despite the fact that Labor cannot articulate its opposition to the bill.


This bill is a significant reform to Government regulations to ensure burdens on business and the community are minimised and Parliamentary checks are effective.


The Member for Banks Mr Melham was embarrassed in today's debate because it seems his instructions from Senator Bolkus were to oppose the bill but he would not tell Mr Melham why.


Labor did not say what it wants in this Bill and did not propose any amendments.


It seems Senator Bolkus informed Mr Melham that Labor would move amendments to the bill in the Senate but then could not foreshadow what the amendments would be.


This must be particularly embarrassing for Mr Melham because in 1995 he was the chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs that supported these reforms.


Despite the committee's bipartisan support for these reforms - Mr Melham and his Labor colleagues now oppose it.


This appalling performance highlights Labor's inability to contribute to law reform.


The Government has presented a Bill that has been developed over around five years with input from numerous committees and, up until recently, with support from Labor.


The bill aims to streamline the way Government regulations are produced and scrutinised in order to ensure regulatio ns are relevant, workable and effective and that any unnecessary regulatory burden on business and the community is removed.


Labor supported this until the Government introduced its Bill.

Labor's mindless obstructionism only reinforces the fact that Labor has no positive contribution to make to law reform in Australia.


Media contact:  Nicholas Harford  (02) 6277 7300