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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 910


Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) - I would like the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) and all those others who have contributed to the debate to see that even this suggestion can be demonstrated to be insufficient for the purpose which the Minister says we all share. Senator Everett has submitted clause 28 to some sort of analysis, but I submit with respect that his analysis was quite inadequate. Subclause (b) lists one of the functions of the Commission: to examine critically, and report to the Attorney-General on, the laws in force in Australia relating to the protection of consumers . . .

Sub-clause (2) states that where a matter of that kind is referred by the Attorney-General to the Commission:

(c)   the Commission shall include in its report to the Attorney-General any recommendations that it considers desirable with respect to the reform of the law relating to the matter to which the reference relates, whether those recommendations relate to the amendment of existing laws or the making of new laws.

That is a field in which the Attorney-General might naturally feel himself competent to give a direction, but the existence of his power nullifies the whole idea of this Commission having a critical function to examine independently the need for new or amended laws. Quite apart from that provision which is directly or indirectly related to the Commission's functions under Part VII, there are other functions which are not appropriate to the Attorney-General's direction. I notice that under clause 27 if the Attorney-General can give a direction to the Commission, it can give a direction to the Chairman.


Senator Murphy -That is not so.


Senator WRIGHT - If I am in error in that respect, it will be pointed out to me. Having directed the Committee's attention to clause 27. 1 will wait until the fallacy of my argument is demonstrated before I persevere.







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