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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Page: 1411

Senator McLUCAS (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers) (9:42 AM) —If you read it literally, it says:

… it is anticipated that the following expertise would be represented amongst members …

It is not prescriptive at all. The amendment from the opposition requires that there be representatives of certain sectors. This is a question of whether we want expertise in a general sense. The EM indicates a range of people who, it is anticipated, would be represented, but your amendment goes to identifying at least one and perhaps two positions that would be represented in a formal sense. I go back to my earlier comment. If we were going to prescribe classes for the advisory council, then we would prescribe every seat on that advisory council in a formal way. The alternative way of establishing any committee is to say that we expect that certain groups would have to be included rather than identifying the distinct membership of every seat on that committee. We have not gone down that track. I suggest that your amendment goes only part way down that track. If you were going to do it fully, you would indicate every seat on the advisory council rather than indicate one, or perhaps two, for an identified sector that would have an important conversation, but that is only one part of the conversation. I refer to the comments of Senator Xenophon and Senator Siewert around the desirability of having certain groups there who may have a slightly different view to the preventative health agenda.