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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1381


Mr MALCOLM FRASER (Wannon) - I wish to table, for the benefit of the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron), the form of the draft amendment which I have and which shows in the second line of it the proposed sub-sections 2, 2a and 2b. I agree with the Minister that if sub-section 2 is left in we will have technically a situation in which inspectors could be appointed by the Minister. But the Minister knows very well that is the point to which the Opposition takes objection. I table the document. I hope that for the sake of clarity the Minister wishes it to be tabled. It shows the sense of what we are seeking to do. If the Committee passed an amendment that was not perfect it would do so because the Opposition does not have the full resources of the Government in drafting amendments and all the rest, although there are some facilities made available as the Minister said earlier, but still not the full resources which the Government has. Even if there are some drafting errors which need clarification and making more precise in the final analysis before the Bill goes to another place, that can be done. But that is not really the point.

The point at issue is the point that my friend the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) made. It is a very significant one because the Minister was proposing to vest inspectors with additional powers. It is my understanding now that he was prepared to have the power vested in himself and not in the inspectors. We are happy with that because he is chargeable and accountable before this Parliament whereas inspectors would not be. But inspectors are, in a significant part, policemen. They are there to see that awards are kept and that the laws of the Commonwealth in relation to industrial matters are not evaded. It is utterly wrong in this democratic system to have a situation in which a Minister can personally appoint members to an inspectorate of this kind or appoint members to any police force. I would be much happier in relation to this matter - but I am not really concerned, since in another place there is a majority which will look after this matter because it is an important change - if the Minister could give this Committee an assurance that there is no list of his own acquaintances from which he intends immediately to appoint people to these positions. I really think and hope, from the way in which this legislation was introduced and the way in which the Opposition responded to it this afternoon, that the Minister should see the full force of the Opposition's amendment, should see its propriety and should not try to poke fun at a small drafting error that left out (2), which is not really all that important. I would hope that the Minister would recognise the fundamental importance and the fundamental significance of this amendment to the basic democratic system which we seek to preserve and which I hope he would seek to preserve. He being the kind of Minister which he exhibited himself to be this afternoon, before his colleague the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) came on the scene, I think this is one of the amendments that he should accept.







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