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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1833


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(11.36) —I simply make the point that it is for the Commission itself rather than the Government to determine the application in particular circumstances of the rules that Senator Puplick has read out and which are, I think, a complete and accurate account of the rules that would govern the Commission. It is a matter for the Commission to determine in any particular case whether the kind of claim being made by a witness for a private hearing is such as to come within the ambit of section 6d (2) of the Royal Commissions Act.

The other point I quickly make, lest there be any confusion about the question of documentary evidence, is that it is of course within the capacity of a royal commission, and this Commission, to gather evidence by means other than a hearing process. There are many ways in which material may come before the Commission other than through the route of being tendered by a witness at a hearing, public or private. So, lest there be any confusion between the earlier discussion and this discussion about what happens at a public hearing, I make the point that there are plenty of discretions available to the Commission as to what documentary evidence it secures by routes other than a hearing, and plenty of discretions by which the Commission can determine whether or not to publish that evidence as part of its own process. I hope that that has cleared up any further misunderstanding that may have been in some people's minds, if not in Senator Puplick's, about the way this will all work.