Senate debates

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010; Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010

In Committee

11:12 am

Photo of Mary FisherMary Fisher (SA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I have some questions about the intent and effect of the amendment, and I thank the Senate for the opportunity to ask them. I also thank the government for its attempt—albeit belatedly—to brief the opposition for some 20 minutes or so this morning on this amendment, which the opposition learnt about when it was first tabled in the Senate some 24 hours ago. I understand some key stakeholders only became aware of it yesterday as well. I am going to try to keep my questions as brief as possible, but I do want to try and ascertain from the government a clear description of what it intends with this amendment and a reassurance that it will achieve that intention.

Minister, the heading of the amendment uses the words ‘does not affect’. The amendment itself uses the words ‘is in addition to’. Minister Arbib yesterday used the words ‘cannot be used to satisfy’ and you this morning used the words ‘cannot be used to fulfil’. Is there any difference between the meanings of those words? If so, why are the words ‘does not affect’ used in the heading to the amendment, the words ‘is in addition to’ used in the guts of the amendment and the words ‘cannot be used to satisfy’ and ‘cannot be used to fulfil’ used by the respective ministers to describe the effect of the amendment? There is a substantive reason for asking. It is not just playing with words. They all have meanings.


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