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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 903

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - If a conflict arose in which the Chairman was involved he should disqualify himself. We thought this was a reasonable way in which conflicts might be dealt with. If the honourable senator wants to consider this further 1 invite him to raise the matter later. This is not a matter on which there ought to be any party political differences as to how this is resolved. If the honourable senator thinks there is some improvement that can be made in relation to provisions dealing with the Chairman, I do not think there would be any difficulty if this were raised again at some later stage despite the fact that an amendment has been put forward by the Opposition. If it wants to modify its proposal or to put forward something else I will not be doing anything other to facilitate putting any proposal before the Committee. The conflict of interests is an important area.

If I may be forgiven for digressing a little, I think it is probably important that in the Parliament conflicts of interests are exposed and dealt with. The Committee will recall that there is a proposal before the Senate that such disclosures be made by members. I think it is long overdue that such disclosures should be made by members of other tribunals and courts throughout the land. If there is the opportunity in this legislation to develop a satisfactory precedent which might by applied in other areas, I will be only too anxious to encourage it. May I suggest that we dispose of this clause and move on to deal with other clauses? If somebody else wants to raise the matter or come back to it later, I think it is probably a clause that could be dealt with without any kind of contention. I do not think there is any real difference between us on this matter. We would all want to have in the Bill a procedure which would deal properly with conflicts of interests. We thought our provision was sufficient. If the Opposition wants to go further or if honourable senators on our side or the independent senators want to propose something else let them do so. But I suggest, with respect that we might move on to the other clauses.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 18 to 28- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 29.

(1)   The Attorney-General may give directions to the Commission in connexion with the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers under this Act other than its functions and powers under Part VII, and the Commissioner shall comply with any directions so given.

(2)   Any direction given to the Commissioner under subsection ( 1 ) shall be in writing and the Attorney-General shall cause a copy of the direction to be published in the Gazette as soon as practicable after the direction is given.

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