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Friday, 15 June 1984
Page: 3208


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(9.44) —I speak very briefly on this Division to say that all of the difficulties that have been previously discussed in the second reading debate and in the Committee debate obviously apply where officers, as much as the Minister, are involved in trying to apply the sections. The only additional point I wish to make is that I hope that the Government, if this legislation is passed, as it appears it will be, will be extremely careful in its authorisation of officers. History is littered with the deficiencies occasioned by well-meaning public servants who do not necessarily see the totality of the scene in which they are operating. Given the considerable powers that exist in this legislation, this is the sort of situation where officers, if they are to have such powers, should be selected very carefully and should be of a high level of seniority. We should not have the situation where relatively junior people might be tempted to use powers in a way which could be thoroughly destructive. I do not wish to go into examples of my own experience in Aboriginal affairs. Generally well-meaning people have done some most dreadful things to Aboriginals while others have done dreadful things for Aboriginals. I simply utter that caution in respect of Division 2.