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Monday, 30 May 1994
Page: 843


Senator COLSTON —On behalf of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances I give notice that, 15 sitting days after today, I shall move:

  That the ATSIC (Misbehaviour) Determination 1994 No.1 made under s.4A of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 and the Meat Inspection (Fees) Orders, Meat Inspection Orders No.1 of 1994 made under the Meat Inspection (Orders) Regulations, be disallowed.

As usual, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a short summary of the matters raised by the committee.

  Leave granted.

  The summary read as follows—

ATSIC (Misbehaviour) Determination 1994 No. 1 under s.4A of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989

This instrument determines what constitutes misbehaviour for the purposes of termination or suspension by the Minister of various officers or elected representatives.

The provisions of paragraph 3(1) determine misbehaviour for the purposes of the Act and include several expressions which are imprecise and which require subjective judgments. Also, paragraphs 3(1)(j) and 3(2) provide that conviction of an offence punishable by imprisonment is taken to be misbehaviour for the purposes of the Act. The Determination then provides that a person is taken to have been convicted of an offence if, among other things, the person has been charged with and found guilty of an offence, but discharged without conviction, or the person has not been found guilty of an offence, but a court has taken the offence into account in passing sentence on the person for another offence. The Committee has written to the Minister seeking advice on whether the expressions under paragraph 3(1) are appropriate and whether the provisions in paragraphs 3(1)(j) and 3(2) may operate harshly and breach the personal rights of those affected.

Meat Inspection (Fees) Orders

Meat Inspection Orders No. 1 of 1994

This instrument makes provision for Quality Assurance Agreements and for meat inspection services at premises that are not prescribed premises.

The Explanatory Statement advises that the Orders will result in total fees being reduced by $0.3 million in a full financial year. While the Committee welcomes this reduction it wrote to the Minister asking about the basis for the reduction.

More importantly, the Secretary is given a number of discretions which are commercially valuable. These include the power to extend the time for payment of an unpaid fee or late payment penalty, to allow an unpaid fee or late payment penalty to be paid by instalments (paragraph 24.1), to direct that inspection services must not be provided if fees or penalties are unpaid (paragraph 28.2) and to remit some or all of a fee or late payment penalty in special circumstances (paragraph 29.1).

Paragraphs 30 and 31 provide for reconsideration of decisions by the Secretary and for review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. This right of review, however, does not extend to reconsidered decisions made under paragraphs 24.1 or 29.1(a). As these may be the most commercially valuable decisions, the Committee has written to the Minister seeking advice on why these decisions have been excluded from AAT review, while a possibly less important decision is subject to review.