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Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 2240


Senator COTTON (New South Wales) - Clause 9 is one that the Opposition in the House of Representatives had some concern about and in relation to which it moved an amendment, which I shall move here again. Its concern about clause 9 related to subclause (3), which provides:

A power of the Chairman under paragraph (2) ta) or (b shall be exercised, as far as practicable, only after consultation with the Commissioners.

I was concerned with the words 'as far as practicable'. It seemed to them that it gave the Chairman too much authority to set to one side the opinion of his colleagues in relation to paragraph (2) (a) as to when meetings of the Commission should be convened and in relation to paragraph (2) (b) as to determining the form of the records of the meeting of the Commission which are to be kept in accordance with the Act and the procedure to be adopted at such meetings. It seemed to the Opposition in the House of Representatives that these are very consequential matters to leave entirely to the discretion of the Chairman alone, because the words 'as far as practicable' literally can mean anything at all. Therefore the Opposition has circulated an amendment to clause 9, it is in the list of amendments which has been given to the Minister and to honourable senators. Accordingly I move:

Leave out sub-clause (3), insert the following sub-clause-

(3)   The powers of the Chairman under paragraph (2) (a) or (b) shall be exercised only after consultation with the Commissioners.'

It seems to us to be reasonable, and not impossible to achieve. It inserts an essential safeguard which I would imagine the Commission would regard as sensible.







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