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Wednesday, 25 September 2002
Page: 4827

Senator HARRIS (12:15 PM) —I rise also to speak on the Democrats amendment that, under proposed new section 170MWA, will remove the words `or the Minister'. I concur with Senator Murray's points that he raised and I strengthen them even more by contributing the fact that it is the duty of the government and this place to produce legislation. The pillars of our democratic society that our Constitution is based on are the separation of powers—that is, the parliament, the executive and the judiciary. Therefore, as our democracy is based on that principle, it is equally important that neither the government nor the executive should interfere in the administration of the legislation. It is our duty to produce the legislation. I do not believe that the House of Representatives or the Senate should produce legislation that will give any minister the ability to step over that separation of powers. The minister has the carriage of the legislation and, therefore, the minister should not have the ability to unduly influence the commission in such a way by making an application under the legislation which he has the ability and the authority to set out.

In supporting the Democrats and Senator Murray's position, I believe that an overpowering and substantive argument for supporting this amendment is that the minister should not be able to, firstly, bring in the legislation and, secondly, access that legislation and influence the commission in an incorrect manner.