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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 4005

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (Attorney-General)(4.27) —I make the point that we do not agree with what has been said by the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Spender), although we appreciate his legitimacy in saying it. I make the point that the Human Rights Commission that he is talking about was set up by the Fraser Government.

Mr Spender —I said that.

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —He accepts that. I understand that there can always be improvement. This proposal is for a new commission. I would expect it to have a lot of work to do, not only in the areas that we usually talk about, regarding sex or race, but also in the areas of the disabled and the problems of the child. Many matters are coming before the Commission at present which require some facility to have the opportunity to investigate them. I think the honourable gentleman would agreed with me that a number of people have problems that need investigation and conciliation. The Commission, to that extent, has been carrying out worthwhile work. To some extent, some of the comments made by the honourable gentleman, I fully understand and appreciate, would cause concern. I hope they are not repeated by the new Commission. But it is important that Australia implements the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by having some statutory base so that these obligations can at least be investigated and reported upon.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported; report adopted.