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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1815


Senator COLLARD (Leader of the National Party of Australia)(9.48) —by leave-I move:

(1) Page 7, subclause 13 (1), line 14, after `1902', insert `(other than sections 6a and 6dd of that Act)'.

(2) Page 7, after subclause 13 (3), insert the following new subclauses:

`(3a) Section 3 of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 in its application in accordance with subsection (1) of this section has effect as if the following subsection were inserted after subsection (2) of that section:

`(2a) It is a reasonable excuse for the purposes of subsection (2) for a person to refuse or fail to produce a document or other thing that the production of the document or other thing might tend to incriminate the person.'.

`(3b) Section 6 of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 in its application in accordance with subsection (1) of this section has effect as if:

(a) `without reasonable excuse' were inserted in subsection (1) of that section after `refuses'; and

(b) the following subsection were inserted after subsection (1) of that section:

`(1a) It is a reasonable excuse for the purposes of subsection (1) for a person to refuse to answer any question that the answer might tend to incriminate the person.'.'.

In response to Senator Sanders, I point out that Tasmanian senators in this chamber have every right to debate this Bill as hard as they wish. The Commonwealth Government is seeking to ride roughshod over a State and over an industry which is of vital consequence to the people of Tasmania. Not only will employment possibly be jeopardised now but it certainly will be in the future. I recall saying during my speech in the second reading debate that people are waiting to invest, particularly in value added industries associated with the forest industry in Tasmania. Tasmanians have every right to fight as hard as they are. It is a nonsense for another senator from Tasmania to seek to put them down in any way, shape or form. In our amendments to clause 13 we are picking up the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, from which I quote:

The Committee has been critical of such provisions-

and in times past, I might add-

which remove the right to refuse to answer questions or produce documents on grounds of self incrimination but which confer protection in subsequent proceedings only in respect of the use of the actual answer given or document produced.

This has obviously been raised previously by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee. It is operating under the Royal Commissions Act 1902 and the Opposition has taken up the Scrutiny of Bills Committee's recommendations and put them into amendments. That is why we are moving them at this stage.