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Friday, 19 October 1984
Page: 2050

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(10.20) —The Government again does not accept the amendments although we can understand the nature of the reasons for Senator Macklin wanting the amendments. The amendments set up a procedure that, as far as we know, do not apply in any other avenues of inquiry in the public domain, particularly similar inquiries under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act and the Industries Assistance Commission Act. At first blush it is hard to see why such amendments should be introduced here. One can imagine all sorts of administrative problems being faced by people who claim to be experts, not being summonsed to appear before inquiries, going to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and claiming they should have been summonsed, for the purpose of being paid. That is a matter that should certainly be kept under review. I will certainly talk to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Kerin) about this matter to see whether there is an easier way around the problem of the payment of some expert witnesses. I think there would be a great tendency for this matter to get right out of hand if we had a situation where people thought they could by right demand to be summonsed in order to be paid. As I said, I will consult further with the Minister for Primary Industry about this, but we see no reason at the moment to accept such amendments.

Amendments negatived.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.