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Thursday, 6 September 1984
Page: 593


Senator MISSEN(5.12) —When we were debating the previous motion I endeavoured to enter the debate because of remarks which the Attorney-General ( Senator Gareth Evans) made about what he understood was on the record as to the procedures. He has repeated and expanded those remarks in the debate on this matter. I will not traverse the area which the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Chaney, has covered and with which I agree. As I understand the proposal which is before us and which is likely to be carried, the Attorney was suggesting that we downgrade the work of the Commissioners Assisting-


Senator Gareth Evans —They are counsel assisting and that is all they are and that is all they can be if it is going to survive legal challenge and you know it, whatever you call them.


Senator MISSEN —That is what the Attorney-General says. I do not happen to agree with him. I see that is his purpose and his point. I am just saying that I do not agree with his purpose or his point. As I see this matter we do not expect a repetition of what occurred under the previous Committee with the divided political views and finally divided opinions. Rather we hope to get valuable and independent advice which will come through the Senate Select Committee on Allegations Concerning a Judge. I hope that we will therefore not see in this motion anything that downgrades in any way the importance of the appointment of Commissioners Assisting and the work they will do through the Committee. That Committee will then refer to this chamber the facts with which it becomes satisfied on the advice which it receives. This chamber will then proceed on that. I do not accept the Attorney's view of the small value of the work which one would expect to come from the Commissioners Assisting. I would imagine that they are the greatest hope we in this chamber have of getting non-political advice based on the facts. The purpose of this motion is to keep that very much in mind.