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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Page: 1419

Senator McLUCAS (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers) (10:28 AM) —That is a good way of having the discussion. The Productivity Commission has a completely different role to what this organisation will have. The PC does, as you are aware, a whole range of fundamental research work. It will inquire into an issue, whatever it may be, and provide a considered opinion which then goes into the public arena as a matter of course. That is what happens. Any advice that goes to the minister outside of that commissioned request that the PC undertakes under your provision would then be published. I do not think that is the point you are making; the point you are making is that reports from the PC are published, and that is its role to inform public debate. What your amendment in this debate does is require any advice to the minister to be published—not a commissioned report, not a piece of research, but any advice. I think the distinction is quite clear. The PC has a completely different role in the way our systems work in this country to what the authority will have. It undoubtedly will publish research documents—it will undoubtedly conduct research—but it is important to equate the role of the authority with the role of the PC. It is such a different role.