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Wednesday, 1 December 1965


Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) .- I move -

In sub-clause (2.), after "commerce" insert, ", economics ".

Sub-clause (1.) of clause 10 prescribes the legal qualifications of presidential members of the tribunal. Sub-clause (2.) reads -

A person shall not be appointed as a member other than a presidential member unless he appears to the Governor-General to be qualified for appointment by virtue of his knowledge of, or experience in, industry, commerce or public administration.

By my amendment I seek to add the word "economics" to enlarge the qualifications. The Opposition believes that the present qualifications are too narrowly stated. There are quite a number of people in this country with an interest in and knowledge of restrictive practices who cannot be said strictly to have knowledge of or experience in industry, commerce or public administration, unless university people or academics have knowledge of and experience in public administration. It is significant that most of the people who have spoken or written and who have been asked to speak or write about restrictive practices have been either the present Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden), his predecessor or academics - persons who have knowledge of and experience in economics.


Mr Buchanan - They have the time. That is how they make a living.


Mr WHITLAM - Most of the articles in such papers as the " Economic Record ", and the " Financial Review " and the lectures before various business or professional bodies have tended to be by such persons. It is true, as the honorable member for McMillan has pointed out, that these people have to make a living. So, of course, do the people with the qualifications specified in the Bill. Are we to say that people whose very qualification is a knowledge of or the practice of economics are to be disqualified from this tribunal? The professional and business bodies which have held seminars on this subject or which have asked for papers to be prepared or lectures to be delivered on the subject, all have sought economists as the principal or sole contributors. I would have thought that a knowledge of or experience in economics should be an important qualification. Why exclude economists in this way? We have said all the time that the Arbitration Commission or the Tariff Board would be fortified by an infusion of economists. I know that sometimes such people are discarded, as was the case with Mr. Date and Sir Leslie Melville. Nevertheless, we have all said that economists should be used on or attracted to the Tariff Board or the Arbitration Commission. Why is it that in this instance they are to be discarded?

I find it discouraging, frankly, to quote Sir Garfield Barwick on this subject because nobody on the Government side is now prepared to stand up for what be used to say about this matter. But among the documents available to honorable gentlemen is one which has the title - or shares the title with some others - " Some Aspects of Australian Proposals for Legislation for the Control of Restrictive Trade Practices and Monopolies." It contains speeches delivered by Sir Garfield Barwick, Lord Devlin and Mr. Justice Shaefer of Illinois at the Thirteenth Legal Convention of the Law Council of Australia, held in Hobart in January 1963. Sir Garfield Barwick there referred to a tribunal composed of legal men or of legal men and laymen trained in business and economics and serving for a term , of years. I think this was a sound concept and my amendment gives expression to it.







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