Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 28 June 1994
Page: 2129


Senator HARRADINE (8.03 p.m.) —I do not want to canvass all of the matters that have gone before. I just want to make a couple of very brief points and ask a couple of simple questions. My brief points relate to schedule 4 and proposed subsection 191(2). This proposed subsection obviously envisages that the panel will have the power of summonsing a person—a coercive power to compel people to attend. As Senator Vanstone has just indicated, they do not then have as of right representation by a lawyer to put points to the panel. Proposed subsection 194(4) states:

A person who appears at an inquiry is entitled to have another person present to assist the person, but a person who so assists is not entitled to address the Panel.

Then we have proposed subsection 199(1). Quite serious penalties are involved, and yet the individual does not have the right to legal representation. Whilst the minister has indicated that the panel will have the say on whether that takes place, I wonder how the minister feels about this. Firstly, persons are required to attend on summons; that is a coercive element. Secondly, there are quite serious penalties involved. If that is the case, what is the logic behind denying a person the right to legal representation in those cases?

  Frankly, what is the constitutional basis for enforcing the findings of a non-court as if they were court orders? I think the committee is really entitled to have a look at that because, if we go along that track, we really are looking at this question of the division of powers between the judiciary, the executive and the parliament. I ask the minister to give, chapter and verse, the constitutional basis for enforcing findings of a non-court as if they were court orders.