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Wednesday, 1 December 1965

Mr STOKES (Maribyrnong) .- Having listened to the debate on this matter, I am quite concerned that the Committee seems to be divided and is considering academics as against experienced men for appointment to the Trade Practices Tribunal. Clause 10 (1.) provides that the only qualification for appointment as a presidential member is that a person must be a barrister or solicitor of five years' standing. It does not provide that he must have practised as a barrister or solicitor for five years. Such a person possibly would know nothing whatsoever about matters of industry, commerce and public administration.

Mr Whitlam - As the honorable member says, the person need not be in practice.

Mr STOKES - That is so. He need not have practised. I come to my second point. Clause 10 (2.) provides -

A person shall not be appointed as a member other than a presidential member unless he appears to the Governor-General-

That is to say, his representative, the Attorney-General - . . to be qualified for appointment by virtue of his knowledge of, or experience in, industry, commerce or public administration.

So, immediately the door is opened to a man with absolutely no experience whatsoever but with academic knowledge only in the subject. The position would be that there would be three people with no experience on the Tribunal. If the amendment that is foreshadowed by the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) is taken notice of, the Tribunal could comprise two people without experience and one person with experience.

In the case of business practices, the Tribunal should be made up of people who have experience in industry and not people who are academics. As far as the amendment proposed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) is concerned, I would have said that a man with knowledge of commerce would qualify as an economist without any addition to that clause. I think I would much rather see an amendment which contained the words - by virtue of his knowledge of, and experience in, industry, commerce or public administration.

Knowledge and experience should go hand in hand particularly when we are dealing with trade practices. It is practices with which we are dealing. It is the practical application of commerce and not airy-fairy economists or various sorts of pressures on the economy. I do not know what all this feeling is about. I cannot understand why the draftsman has used the words, "knowledge of, or experience in.", giving the alternative. The requirement should be knowledge and experience.

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