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Tuesday, 19 May 1970


Mr GORTON - I think it must be obvious that if there is divided control and divided responsibility nobody knows who is responsible for action or where responsibility properly lies. It is perfectly proper and acceptable, the question of that authority and responsibility once having been decided, for matters to be worked out in the way which the honourable member has in his mind, as, for example, the off-shore petroleum legislation has been worked out. That, as he will know, can still stand and can still operate after the matter of legal responsibility has been decided. Therefore that does not get affected but what does get affected is the question of who in fact bears the responsibility' for particular action on particular occasions. Let me remind the honourable member, for example, that nol long ago there was a tanker carrying a great amount of oil which grounded in the Barrier Reef. It was within the area which is not known and undefined as to responsibility. With the concurrence of the State Parliament this Parliament passed an Act which operated for a short time to enable that danger to be obviated, but if there had been no such concurrence, and it is perfectly possible to imagine such circumstances, then no-one would have known who had the responsibility and who should be charged with a lack of responsibility if no action were taken. That is an example I give to the honourable member.







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