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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 2960

Senator PUPLICK(9.52) —I move:

(2) Page 22, sub-clause 25 (1), leave out `at the time and place', insert `at a reasonable time and place'.

This amendment can be dealt with very expeditiously as I understand that the Government is prepared to adopt it. The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, in its tenth report of 1986 dated 11 June 1986, drew attention to the fact that there ought to be some reasonableness in this matter. At page 163 of the report the Committee said:

While the Committee recognises that the specification of an unreasonable time or place may give rise to a `reasonable excuse' for failure to attend before an officer it would prefer to see the requirement that the time and place be reasonably specified in the standard form of such provisions.

The Government adopted this recommendation in the Subsidy (Cultivation Machinery and Equipment) Bill 1986 where, in clause 28 (1), the words `at a reasonable time and place' specified in the notice were included in that amendment. For the sake of consistency, we move this amendment so that there will be no doubt that the directions which are to be given by the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce which require a person to answer questions and produce documents under clause 25 (1), where at the moment any time and place could theoretically be notified to the person concerned, the time and place should be defined in the legislation as reasonable. The Government has adopted this amendment in a number of other bounty and subsidy Bills that have come before us recently and I am sure that it will have no difficulty in accepting it as far as this legislation is concerned.