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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 1627


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(11.30) —I make a further point. We again run into problems. Senator Martin can correct me if I am wrong, and I certainly was wrong when I said in the second reading debate that I thought she was talking about the whole of the Australian second language proficiency ratings. I meant to acknowledge that previously. Senator Martin, in talking about the rights and duties of a citizen, mentioned jury duty and such things. If we provide in this legislation or in our regulations for the standard of English to be adequate to cope with jury duty at all times, we really might be excluding a lot of people. I understand the obligations of citizenship to serve on juries, but even people born in this country get off jury service because of all sorts of incapacities with English and comprehension. I think we run into trouble if we try to set down rigid guidelines of this type. I repeat what I said previously. It will always be a matter of judgment. The Department has operated pretty well in the past. I certainly take Senator Martin's point. Like her, I am sure that if we went back into the matter we would probably find the same people who were advising Mr Macphee are in some cases advising Mr West. That is a problem we will always face.