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New opposition policy process

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FOR PRESS F 75/108



The Parliamentary Liberal and Country Party at their joint meeting today approved strengthened methods to enable new Opposition policies to be more specific and more comprehensively developedĀ» In proposing the improvement to Shadow Cabinet, I emphasised that circumstances of Opposition require the most thorough deliberative processes.

Accordingly, the Opposition parties agreed to the establishment of a Policy Co-ordination Committee which will assist me by adopting roles as my watch-dog and my devil's advocate in the development of policy proposals.

I have asked my Deputy, Phillip Lynch, to chair the Committee. Its other members will be - Liberal Party: Senator Withers, Mr Chipp, Senator Garrick, Mr Garland, Mr Ellicott and a representative of the backbench, Dr Forbes; Country Party: Mr Sinclair, Mr Nixon and Mr Lloyd.

Mr Lynch is the obvious choice for Chairman. He had a major role in the 197^Ā· election policy development process and also was chairman of the Liberal Party's national committee of Parliamentary and Organisational Representatives which drafted the new Liberal platform

(policy guidelines).

I also am delighted that Dr Forbes has agreed to serve on the committee. His experience in Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial portfolios will be invaluable.

Up to now, policy development has tended to encompass the development by a Shadow Minister of a "final draft" before he has the benefit of the views of all Shadow Cabinet members. The new approach will take advantage of the knowledge and background of all Shadow Cabinet members in the policy development process from the outset.

The Policy Development Committee will have responsibilities to clear drafts of policy documents before submission to me and Shadow Cabinet, including:

- ensuring that draft policy documents adequately take into account the perspectives provided during earlier discussion at Shadow Cabinet/Ministry concerning major principles, issues and criteria affecting that policy area;

- reviewing general financial implications of each policy;

- establishing standard presentational requirements.

The first meeting of the Policy Co-ordination Committee will take place this week, and thereafter it will meet at least every fortnight.

Canberra, 15 April 1975