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Wednesday, 19 October 1983
Page: 1978


Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Minister for Trade)(8.50) —I assure the honourable member for Dundas (Mr Ruddock) that the Government is interested because under the present law we can appoint magistrates and members of Parliament. Under the previous law we could not have appointed members of Parliament. I draw his attention to that fact. I understand that a senator would have been interested in becoming a member of the Family Law Council but the previous Government never altered the legislation. In fact, he can now become a member. So I hope that the honourable member for Dundas agrees. We are saying that the law allows for it to happen but it has not happened. I think that is the criticism. I give him an assurance that there is no reason at all why appointments should not be made. In fact I support him in his other criticism that the Joint Select Committee on the Family Law Act went to a lot of trouble to make a lot of findings which were then reviewed by somebody else. That is not what we are about.

The position with regard to magistrates is bona fide. In fact, some evidence given by a magistrate before the Select Committee was very valuable and he played an effective part in conciliation proceedings. In other words, all wisdom does not remain with those who never want to venture into Parliament or never want to be involved in matters such as magistrates' hearings. There are people who at times have a vested interest in their own importance. We must always have a counterbalance to that situation. I think we can get it. I give the honourable member an assurance that the Act as it stands enables appointments to be made in the way he wants. His criticism is valid; they have not been made.


Mr Ruddock —But it names others who can be appointed. I think parliamentarians ought to be named.


Mr LIONEL BOWEN —Yes. The honourable member is right and I will engage in some persuasion in his interests.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.


The CHAIRMAN —Is it the wish of the Committee that the remainder of the Bill be taken as a whole?


Mr Cadman —Mr Chairman, you will notice that an amendment has been circulated--


The CHAIRMAN —Order! The question is: That the remainder of the Bill be agreed to.


Mr Cadman —There has been an amendment moved in regard to this.


The CHAIRMAN —I understand that the honourable gentleman's amendment No. 7 was consequential upon his amendment No. 1 being agreed to.


Mr Cadman —Yes, that is true.


The CHAIRMAN —Since it was not agreed to, I understood that the honourable gentleman did not intend to proceed. Is that the case?


Mr Cadman —Yes, that is right.

Remainder of the Bill-by leave-taken as a whole, and agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.