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Wednesday, 23 October 2002
Page: 5680

Senator CARR (11:15 AM) —I am pleased that the minister acknowledges the nature of the act, given the ignorance of his previous comments. But I ask him this further question: is it not the case in the act that the secretary has to be satisfied that the fit and proper person test is applied? And is it not the fact that this secretary that I refer to is the Commonwealth officer responsible and that it is the Commonwealth's responsibility to ensure this act is applied, not the states' responsibility?

Senator Abetz —I refer the honourable senator to section 9(2)(ca) of the act, where he will find the answer.

Senator CARR —Minister, I am at a disadvantage because I do not have that section in front of me, but I do have a fair knowledge of the act. I have asked you a direct question, so can you confirm this: does the act require that the secretary of the Commonwealth department of education has to be satisfied that the act is being enforced? It is no good for you to come in here and claim that this is a state responsibility when this legislation clearly specifies that it is the Commonwealth's responsibility.