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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6288

Senator HARRADINE (8:31 PM) —I raise an issue in respect of the bill. I think that Senator Hogg deserves a response to the serious and very valid points that he raised. Presumably the minister is getting some advice about that. In the meantime, I again ask the minister, through you, Mr Temporary Chairman, about a word in the bill. It is the minister's responsibility, I believe, to let the committee know precisely what the terms mean. I really do want to know what the term `independent' means in the first paragraph. What is meant by the word `independent' when it says:

The Minister must cause an independent review of the operation of this Act ...

Independent of what? Does that refer to the persons who will be appointed to undertake the review? If so, independent of what? What are the qualifications which enable them to assume the mantle of independence? I am also wondering, for example, why the review panel—and bear in mind it is to be a private review—is required to make recommendations as to the amendments that should be made to the act. Why is that required? As a private review, it is obviously to get together and put pressure on various parliaments to amend their legislation. I want a response from the minister in respect of those two matters. Why are the terms of reference so limited?