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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 884

Senator REYNOLDS —Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that there appear to be some anomalies in regard to parliamentary representation on statutory authorities? How many statutory authorities have a parliamentary representative? How many statutory authorities are functioning without parliamentary representation? Why has this policy of appointing parliamentary representatives to some statutory authorities and not to others developed in such an apparently ad hoc fashion? Would statutory authorities be more accountable to the Parliament if they all had an elected member, thus preventing the practice of some statutory bodies being a law unto themselves?

Senator BUTTON —I am aware that there appear to be anomalies in regard to the presence of members of parliament on statutory authority boards. Some statutory authorities have such members and others do not. I am not able to tell Senator Reynolds at the moment how many statutory authorities are in that position. I certainly agree that there are policy anomalies relating to those issues. I am not sure whether statutory authorities would be more accountable if they had elected members of parliament on their boards. That would depend very much on the calibre of the members of parliament concerned. I suppose that is a matter for debate. Insofar as the question seeks facts about the number of statutory authorities concerned, I will seek that information from the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Public Service Matters.