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Tuesday, 28 June 1994
Page: 2130

Senator HARRADINE (8.12 p.m.) —That is right and that is why I am concerned about this question of the individuals who could sustain considerable penalties not having as of right their entitlement to be represented. Some of the people concerned are quite loquacious and very nifty on their feet but many others may not be. I understand what the minister is saying about the panel being able to allow for legal representation. But, in the end, unless the appeal under ADJR in the Federal Court is successful on the grounds the minister mentioned, then the merits of the case will have been determined by the panel without the individual having as of right his or her entitlement to legal representation. That does bother me.

  I take all of this in good faith and I understand the problems the minister described. But it does worry me that so many things seem to be going in this direction where, ultimately, decisions of these non-courts are to be treated as though they were made by a judicial tribunal. That does concern me and particularly it concerns me with the other aspect that was raised by Senator Vanstone and that is the aspect of natural justice. Quite frankly, I am inclined, very much, to vote for the proposal put forward by Senator Vanstone; I think it is a reasonable one. It is a question of let us see the regulations and let us have a positive vote of both houses of parliament on them. So, in my view, that will do what the government wants to do and ensure that the proper processes are clearly approved by both houses of parliament, including the entitlements to the principles of natural justice. I will not say any more.