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Monday, 19 June 2000
Page: 15092


Senator CALVERT (3:33 PM) —On behalf of Senator Coonan, on behalf of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, I give notice that, 15 sitting days after today, I shall move:

That the Defence (Prohibited Words and Letters) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No.1), as contained in Statutory Rules 2000 No. 41 and made under the Defence Act 1903, be disallowed.

I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a short summary of the matters raised by the committee.

Leave granted.

The summary read as follows—

Defence (Prohibited Words and Letters) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No.1), Statutory Rules 2000 No.41

The Regulations include `Australian Army' as a phrase which may not be used in connection with a business or profession without the consent of the Minister, and permit the Minister to impose conditions on the grant of consent to a business to use a phrase, word or letters.

New subregulation 4(2), which is inserted by item 3 of the Schedule to these Regulations, provides the Minister with the discretion to grant permission to use a phrase, word or letter with or without conditions. The exercise of this discretion does not appear to be subject to external merits review (or, indeed, any review at all). The exercise of the Minister's discretion to consent to the use of a phrase, word or group of letters, in existing subregulation 4(1), is also not subject to any form of review, and that some form of external merits review may be appropriate. The Committee wrote to the Minister seeking his advice as to whether review of these discretions would be appropriate.

In response, the Minister indicated that in light of the Committee's concerns, fresh consideration was being given to whether external merit review was appropriate in the circumstances. Accordingly, the Committee gives this notice of notice to disallow in order to allow further correspondence with the Minister.

Senator Brown to move, on Wednesday, 21 June 2000:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) in 1992, following the sacking of Mr Alwyn Johnson from the Tasmania Bank, the Member for Bennelong (Mr Howard) wrote to the Tasmanian Government saying that Mr Johnson's actions may well have preserved jobs and saved millions of dollars,

(ii) the Minister representing the Prime Minister (Senator Hill) informed the Senate, on 7 December 1999, that the Commonwealth is prepared to take the matter up with the Tasmanian Government and see whether there is any avenue open to further assist Mr Johnson, and

(iii) no action has been forthcoming; and

(b) calls on the Government to fulfil its commitment and write to the Tasmanian Government to see what assistance can be provided to Mr Johnson, including the appointment of an independent arbitrator to assess the matter.