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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 134

Senator MISSEN —Mr President, my question is addressed to you because it relates to an appointment of a Senate committee but you may feel it more appropriate that it be directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer to section 53 of the National Crime Authority Act, which has been in operation for two months, and its requirement:

As soon as practicable after the commencement of this Act . . . a joint committee . . . on the National Crime Authority shall be appointed . . .

As the committee is empowered to monitor the Authority's performance and functions, I ask several questions. First, when will the Senate proceed to appoint its five members to the committee? Secondly, when will the joint committee be fully operating and monitoring the adequacy or otherwise of the briefing and taking over of new and existing inquiries by the National Crime Authority? Thirdly, why is the matter not on the Senate Notice Paper?

The PRESIDENT —The matter is not one for my jurisdiction; it is a matter for the attention of the Senate. I call on the Attorney-General to respond.

Senator GARETH EVANS —As the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, I can advise that the Government intends to move quickly to initiate the appointment of members from both Houses of Parliament to that committee. With that in mind, the process has been set in train within our own party room to call for nominations at the next Caucus meeting when Parliament resumes. I had understood that there had been some communication to the non-government parties to similar effect.

Senator Kilgariff —None at all.

Senator GARETH EVANS —To the extent that that has not occurred, I will ensure that it does in order that, on the resumption of our respective party meetings, appropriate steps can be taken to put the representation together and quickly establish the committee in the first week of the resumption of the Parliament.