Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (16:07): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: The committee has already extended the date for accepting submissions to 28 September, and tomorrow the committee will deal with further proposals to extend the date for submissions to 19 October and to schedule public hearings in five cities between 29 October and 8 November so we can report on 26 November. The Law Council and the Bar Association were provided with early drafts of the legislation in mid-July, so this new date for submissions would allow three months to review and make submissions, time rarely allowed for other legislation dealt with by this committee. People involved with the family law courts are almost universal in their condemnation of the delays and inefficiencies, and the consolidation of the courts is one step towards achieving a more efficient and better outcome and would be welcomed by those involved in the court system. Senator Patrick's proposal would mean that submissions would still be being received after the committee had conducted public hearings and three days before the reporting date.