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Tuesday, 5 June 1984
Page: 2556


Senator CHIPP (Leader of the Australian Democrats)(10.05) —I feel rather humbled that two very distinguished and respected lawyers find slightly different meanings to the proposed amendment. Rather than take up the time of the Committee I just say, at the risk of oversimplification, that I will not be proceeding with my amendments and will support Senator Durack's amendment. In crystal clear terms, recommendation 15 of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, at paragraph 4.11, stated:

Clause 11 of the Bill should be amended to require consultation with the Inter- Governmental Committee, rather than its approval, before the Commonwealth Minister refers to the Authority a matter relating to a relevant offence against a law of the Commonwealth or of a Territory.

Whether or not this is a States' House, I still feel very strongly that I am a member of the Federal Parliament and it is absolutely outrageous, without putting too harsh a point on it at this time of night, that when a body is essentially funded and staffed by the Commonwealth, States should be given the power-whether they use it is irrelevant-to say that the inter-governmental committee has to approve of something going to the National Crime Authority when it essentially involves offences against the Commonwealth. An example is that there might be some massive taxation or social security fraud clearly limited within the province of the Commonwealth. It is outrageous to believe that a Federal Act of Parliament ought specifically give a majority of States the right to veto that. One could speak at greater length on this but that was a recommendation, I think a unanimous one, of the Committee. It is correct in logic and for that reason the Australian Democrats will support Senator Durack's amendment.