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Monday, 22 October 1973
Page: 2434

Mr STREET (Corangamite) - I move:

Omit the clause, substitute the following clause:

(1)   The Chairman shall give written notice to the Minister of all direct and indirect pecuniary interests that he has or acquires in any business carried on in Australia or in any body corporate carrying on any such business.

(2)   Where a Commissioner (other than the Chairman) or an Associate Commissioner has or acquires any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any business carried on in Australia, or in any body corporate carrying on any such business, being an interest that could be in conflict with his duties as a Commissioner or Associate Commissioner, he shall, to the best of his knowledge, disclose that interest to the Chairman.'.

This amendment relates to clause 20 of the Bill which states:

A Commissioner shall not exercise any power conferred upon him by this Act in any matter in which he has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest.

The reason that I have moved this amendment is consequent on the Industries Assistance Commission encompassing within its responsibility primary industry. I would expect and trust that it is the Government's intention in due course to have people as Commissioners or perhaps Associate Commissioners who are experienced in the rural industries. If, as I trust, in due course this does happen it is quite possible that people appointed in this way could still have an interest and be engaged in farming of one sort or another.

Dr Gun - In the AWU.

Mr STREET - Not only, as the honourable member for Kingston interjects, in the AWU but I would expect that Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners will be chosen from a wide cross section of people, some of whom will be skilled in the rural industries.

These people will be on the Commission for a specific purpose. The original clause as set out in the Bill could largely nullify the benefits and indeed the intentions behind having these sort of people on the Commission. I would like to give honourable members a practical example. If the fertiliser industry was up for consideration before the Commission and some member or associate member of the Commission was a farmer from one of the higher rainfall areas of Australia that person could be debarred from taking part in that inquiry although he would have the sort of expertise which would probably be exactly the sort of thing of which the Government would be seeking to take advantage. So we suggest that in place of the original clause we should insert the clause as circulated which follows the pecuniary interest clause as it applies to the Restrictive Trade Practices Tribunal. We believe that the amendment will result in a wider use being made of the particular expertise which we expect will be on the Commission.

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