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Wednesday, 6 June 1984
Page: 2671


Senator MACKLIN(8.12) —On first reading this amendment moved by Senator Durack one could be sympathetic. However, I feel that no good reason has been advanced why it must necessarily be correct. If one examines the structures of the Authority, certainly one of the people appointed could well not be a legal practitioner. If this amendment were agreed to, that person would be unable to sit alone. In other words, there would be two classes of commissioner on the Authority and, given the nature of their task, that appears to be inappropriate. I imagine that in any hearing that is undertaken if such a person who is not a legal practitioner is sitting alone he or she would have available the full panoply of legal advice. Such legal advice would not go simply to a person who has been a legal practitioner enrolled for not less than five years. I imagine the hearing would have on hand Queen's Counsel with the best advice to assist the Authority, were such legal advice necessary. I do not believe it is necessary for that person to have undertaken a course at university and to have been practising for five years or enrolled for not less than five years. This proposal does not seem to give any additional benefits, particularly when one considers that the stature of the person who may not be a legal practitioner could be such that the person is a highly respected retired police commissioner with great experience in the area with which the National Crime Authority will be dealing. It seems to me to take away from such a person to suggest that he or she should not sit alone, whereas somebody else who had merely been operating as a lawyer for five years could sit alone.