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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 177


Senator COULTER (10.42 a.m.) —I wish to briefly make one point. I do not want to divert for a moment from the intention of this motion to change the structure of the committees, but I simply wish to comment on the naming of the committees. I understand how this has come about. The economics committee, which will deal with references, will cover the industry, science and technology portfolio. Currently, the standing committee on industry, science and technology has before it a reference on CSIRO. I am a little concerned as to how witnesses from CSIRO or the science departments of universities will be encouraged to come forward to a committee that is now called an `economics committee'. They will need some encouragement because they will look at this committee and say, `This has really nothing to do with what I am concerned about.'

  I wonder whether in the deliberations which will go on over the next few months we could give some consideration to a subtitle to the economics committee which would pick up the title of the existing committee—namely, the industry, science and technology committee. Communications was recently added to that committee too, but I notice that communications has now gone into a committee on environment, recreation, communications and arts.

  I think there should be some reference to both technology and science in these committees. In recent years, we have had a number of very important references before that committee. I think it would be a pity if those terms were lost from the titles of the committees. I simply make that point in passing. I do not seek to move any amendments, but I hope that it is something that will be taken on board in further deliberations as this new committee structure evolves.