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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 185


Senator HARRADINE (11.14 a.m.) —I support Senator Bourne's amendment and wish to add one point. Clearly, in these committees the government will have the chair and the numbers. Obviously, the government will not be calling for persons if those persons—for example, members of a department—are to be called before a committee to have a spotlight put on them. I do not think that that is what estimates committees are for in any event. But if that thought had occurred to anybody, the fact that the government has the majority on those committees will obviously ensure that that will not take place. Indeed, I do not think it would take place anyhow because of the responsible attitude that other members of those committees have. I agree with the point made that ultimately it is the minister who has the responsibility. The minister—not the public servant—is the person with ministerial responsibility, answerable to the parliament, and should act appropriately. So I see no reason why these committees should not have the same power as any other committee under standing order 25.