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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2025

Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)(4.32) —Several weeks ago I raised this matter of the tabling of documents and said that the practice has deteriorated considerably in recent times. Certainly when I came into the Senate a dozen or so years ago the incorporation of a document in Hansard required the assent not only of the Opposition or the Government, depending on which side sought the incorporation, but also the approval of the President. We have departed from that principle largely on the basis of a more tolerant attitude. I believe that protocol should be observed and that the practice of having the document authenticated and given the approval of the other side of the House should remain. Otherwise, we will some day find ourselves in a position of incorporating documents that will have no particular relevance to a debate and which may well be libellous. I am not suggesting that that is so in this case, but we do not know whether this document is in fact the official report of the Gruen Assets Test Review Panel. We may have that assurance, but I doubt the wisdom of seeking to have documents incorporated without following the appropriate longstanding practice which requires the approval of the other side of the House.