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Wednesday, 1 December 1965


Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- On this clause, as on others, I am altogether intrigued by the fact that members of the Country Party are significantly silent. Is it because they do not know anything about the Bill, or is it because they support the Bill whereas the back benchers of the Liberal section of the coalition do not? That is a question worth pondering. The clause appears to be closely allied with original clause 17 which reads -

A member shall not engage in paid employment outside the duties of his office.

I make passing reference to the fact that the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) intends to move that clause 17 be deleted. When the Bill was introduced the Government in tended that members of the tribunal would be full time members. Why has the Government changed its views? Why did it provide in the first place that the members were to be full time and now, for some reason or other, decide that they are to be part time?

The Attorney-General has said that the members of the tribunal would not have anything to do for 12 months or so. The members, if they were on a full time basis, could well travel to other countries, if necessary, to see how legislation of this type was working elsewhere, because this Government is 50 years behind practically every other country in regard to such legislation. New clause 1 1 (2.) provides -

A member shall be paid remuneration at such rate as the Governor-General determines, but his salary shall not be diminished during a term of office.

This puts the members on a part time basis. But the persons who are appointed will have to earn their livelihood. The Government says it wants men of integrity and capacity in these positions. These men, if they are on a part time basis, will seek lucrative employment in outside industry. How can they be impartial on a tribunal that is deciding possibly the most judicial matters outside the courts of this country if they are to be only on a part time basis? The Government realised the implications here when it introduced the Bill and provided that the positions were to be full time positions, but now it has decided that they shall be part time. This could place in question the integrity of the people who will be appointed.

I do not know why this was done. The people on this tribunal should be completely beyond reproach. There should be no possible challenge to their integrity or their impartiality, and there should be no semblance of association on their part with industry on a part time basis, even in respect of their incomes. To have men connected with industry as members of this tribunal must shake the confidence of the public in the capacity and the integrity of the tribunal to adjudicate on matters that come before it. If, in the early stages of this Bill, the Attorney-General and other members of the Government thought fit to make positions on this tribunal a full time occupation, why the sudden change? I think I know why. Since the very day that this legislation was first mooted by the former AttorneyGeneral, Sir Garfield Barwick, all the resources of vested interests have been brought to bear on Government Party members to change the legislation so as to suit industry and those engaged in the kind of malpractices with which the legislation was to deal.

During the debate we have seen Government supporters jump like puppets and give expression to views which we know have been forced on them by people outside the Parliament who are practising the things which this legislation should seek to defeat. That is why the Government has changed this provision. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) pointed this out earlier in the debate. The change will place the integrity of the tribunal in question. The very fact that the tribunal will have nothing to do for 12 months is nol a justifiable reason for putting its members on a part time basis. Any tribunal requires time to settle in and study what is required of it. I point out that this tribunal would necessarily require many months for its members to settle into their positions and to study the situation. They would need to investigate the nature of the many problems with which they will be faced.

This Committee will need to be much more reassured than it is so far before it can give assent to the Minister's proposal. I say again that I should like to hear members of the Country Party speak on this matter and let us know whether they think that this type of tribunal would be impartial. We know where the members of the Liberal Party stand. Whether we think of the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) or the honorable member for McMillan (Mr. Buchanan) or any one of many Liberal supporters, it is all the same. It is like picking a box. You can pick any one you like but you will find few of the Government backbenchers who really support the measure. The Country Party is significantly silent. Probably its members have a view on the legislation. Probably they know a bit about it but they are not prepared to speak on it. I should like the Minister to explain to me why the Government has changed its mind. How can the Minister expect people from the highest paid sections of industry, the best brains of industry, to take part in a judicial capacity on this tribunal when there is always the possibility that the tribunal's reports will get the same treatment as the Vernon Committee's report received from the Government? The Government rubbished the Vernon Committee's report. Now it is going to ask people in industry to join this tribunal and perhaps have their reports similarly dealt with. The Minister might well ponder these matters. We desire to be assured regarding the reason for the change because we are far from satisfied so far and, indeed, I do not need to tell anybody that two thirds of the honorable members sitting behind the Minister are not satisfied either.







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