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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1644


Mr N.A. Brown(9.04) —I move:

(6) Clause 10, page 7, after subclause (4) add the following subclause:

`(5) Where a relevant authority has lodged a special report with the Board, the responsible Minister shall cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day on which he or she receives the report.'.

This amendment is moved to clause 10 and proposes that a new sub-clause, sub-clause (5), be added to the clause as it presently stands. Clause 10 deals with special reports on the operation of equal employment opportunity programs and provides that the responsible Minister or the Board may require the authority to give a special report. A special report is a report in writing in relation to the development, implementation or review of the program of the authority.

Once again the provision in the substance of clause 10 is that when the authority has given that special report to the responsible Minister, the Minister is to table it in the Parliament within 15 sitting days. If we are to have this sort of operation it is desirable that the authority should report; it is desirable that the report should be tabled in the Parliament. However, if the Authority chooses to report to the Public Service Board there is no obligation, as things stand in the Bill, for a report to end up in this place and we say that the Parliament should be informed. The Minister has said: `These bodies report to the Public Service Board. The Public Service Board reports to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister then has the report tabled in the Parliament'.

I do not know the whole range of authorities to which this Bill will apply. Certainly, by the definition of authority, it is an extensive piece of legislation and will apply to a very large number of authorities. It would seem that if the Parliament and its members have an interest in seeing the implementation of these programs, as one would hope they would, they would support an amendment to the effect that the responsible Minister must table the report in the Parliament so that we will all know what has been going on in implementing these programs and whether they have been effective.

The Minister has said that there is this reporting process already. If the Government will not accept this amendment-it does not seem as though it will do any harm at the very least-we invite it to give an assurance that in every case where a report goes to a Minister or to the Public Service Board a report to the Parliament will end up here in a reasonable time so that we will be able to see the implementation of these programs in the Commonwealth authorities.