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Wednesday, 13 October 1971
Page: 2238

Mr KELLY (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Is the Minister aware of a campaign to debase the reputation of the Tariff Board on the ground that the Board is employing consultants on a part-time basis? Does not the Minister's own Department employ consultants on a part-time basis as the need arises? Is the Minister aware that the organisation leading this campaign is none other than the Australian Industries Development Association which itself energetically sponsored the idea of part-time membership of the Tariff Board a year or two ago? Can it be that AIDA believes that the employment of part-time people in the Tariff Board area is acceptable only if AIDA has a considerable say as to who is appointed in a part-time capacity.

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Deputy Prime Minister) - There has been quite a lot of conjecture in the Press about a dissenting report from the Tariff Board. I do not know whether there is any campaign but people are certainly allowed to have different points of view. I have also heard a lot of people defending the Tariff Board, as I did the other night in this House by saying that I believe that, generally speaking, it does a very good job. But I do not want to enter into this issue of the dissenting report. I have mentioned before in the House that some legal questions are involved because the dissenting report says the practice is contrary to the Tariff Board Act, but until I have a decision from the Attorney-General as to whether or not it is legal I refuse to make any comment. It is true that my Department, as do many other government departments, has outside consultants helping it in making recommendations and giving advice to the Government, but whether it is possible to do this within the terms of the Tariff Board Act will depend very much on the verdict of the AttorneyGeneral's Department.

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