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Wednesday, 6 June 1984
Page: 2670

Senator DURACK(8.10) —I move:

(19B) Page 14, clause 21, after sub-clause (2), insert the following new sub- clause:

'(2A) The member or one of the members constituting the Authority at a hearing (as the case may be) shall be a Judge or be enrolled as a legal practitioner and have been so enrolled for not less than 5 years.'.

This amendment relates to membership of the Authority and has already been circulated. On an earlier occasion I foreshadowed that the Opposition would consider whether the authority would have a quorum of two members at a hearing, or even one member. However, the Committee has now decided that there should not be a requirement for more than one-although, of course, there can be more than one. This amendment has been drafted on the basis that the quorum will remain at one. Nevertheless, it is the Opposition's view that at least one of these members, or the sole member, if that is the case, should have legal qualifications. The reason is that the member who is conducting the hearing will be exercising the new special powers of the Authority and will be responsible for the way in which the examination is conducted. One must bear in mind the likelihood of the appearance of counsel, the right of people to claim privilege and so on, and the fact that hearings must be conducted in a professional manner . It is not simply an ordinary case of investigation by a police officer. It is a special hearing with special powers and should be conducted in accordance with correct procedures, having regard to the rights of people who find themselves brought before a hearing. For all those reasons, the Opposition believes that this amendment is desirable and should be part of the Bill.