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Tuesday, 9 October 1984
Page: 1471

Senator MISSEN(4.50) —The Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs is not here. I think I am the only member of the Committee who is here at present. I am not aware of the nature of the reference but I gather that it is in connection with the onus of proof. The Committee produced a report on the onus of proof generally a couple of years ago . I am rather concerned, as I am at any time when a reference is moved which has not been discussed by the Committee, to ascertain the Committee's view on it. I think it usual in these matters to speak to the Chairman before moving the reference. I am not saying that the Committee might not be quite conveniently able to deal with this matter. It is an area in which it has had considerable discussions. I think the Committee is meeting later today. I do not know whether it is desired to proceed immediately to a vote on this matter. It seems to me that it would be a bit unfortunate if the reference were just sent to the Committee without any consultation and if we started a practice whereby we refer matters to committees without consulting the committee in question.

Debate (on motion by Senator Walsh) adjourned.