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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 2012


Senator RAE (Tasmania) -Clause 17 deals with the question of committees of the Commission. For the reasons which I outlined in relation to the deletion of clause 16, we regard the question of committees, particularly committees of the Commission itself, as important. It is interesting to note that the Minister for Education (Mr Beazley), in his second reading speech as reported at page 1636 of the House of Representatives Hansard, said that it was proposed that it should be possible: to appoint such committees of the Commission as are necessary from time to time to enable it to perform its stated functions.

The words of the Minister himself were that it was proposed to appoint committees to enable the Commission to perform its stated functions. But when we look at the provision in the Bill, we find that, no doubt by error, it does not provide for the Minister to appoint committees for the purpose of carrying out the Commission's stated functions. Rather, it provides:

The Minister may, at the request of the Commission, appoint a Committee to assist the Commission in relation to a matter specified in the request.

No limitation is provided in clause 1 7 of the Bill as submitted by the Government which would accord with the object stated by the Minister for Education in his second reading speech. Accordingly, because we believe that it is important that there should be a clear relationship between the functions of the Commission and the function for which a committee is appointed, we propose that there be an amendment by which a number of words would be added at the end of clause 17( 1 ) which I have just read out. The sub-clause would then read as follows:

The Minister may, at the request of the Commission, appoint a Committee to assist the Commission in relation to a matter specified in the request provided that such request shall be related to the matters referred to in section 13.

In other words, we wish to see that the powers of the Minister are limited to the extent that he appoints committees which are related to the functions as defined in clause 13 of the Bill. I do not think that it is necessary to elaborate in great detail. It is a principle which is well known to all honourable senators that such powers as are given to Ministers by Bills such as this should be limited in regard to what the Minister may do in the exercise of the power. We wish to make it quite clear what he may do. The Minister for Education said in his second reading speech delivered in the House of Representatives that this was the intention of the Bill. We are simply making quite sure that the Bill carries out the intention of the Minister. I move:

At the end of sub-clause ( 1 ) add: 'provided that such request shall be related to the matters referred to in section 1 3 '.







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