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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1816

Senator WATSON(9.54) —I refer to clause 13 (1) (b), which is one of the most important provisions of this Bill because it attempts to compel the State Government to provide information to this inquiry. The manner in which the Government is going about this matter raises a number of questions which are of some concern to our civil libertarians and to people interested in democracy. I ask: Has there been a similar attempt in the history of Federation by a Commonwealth to force a State government, if it is reluctant, to provide information to a Federal inquiry? Can the Minister explain what mechanism the Government intends to use if it is necessary to enforce the Commission's purported right to compel State witnesses to give information before the inquiry?