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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (Minister for Labour and National Service) (3:32 AM) - 1 showed the terms of the proposed amendment to Mr Comans, the Acting Parliamentary Draftsman. He is well known to all honourable members. Honourable members will remember that the Government accepted amendments to three Bills earlier today. They were the Australian Film Development Corporation Bill, the Metric Conversion Bill and the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Bill. The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) said that he believed that this was a principle that ought to be accepted. In reply I said that there were a lot of things that the honourable member for Oxley had put forward with which T agreed. But on the other hand I thought it was necessary not to .accept as a general principle the proposal embodied in amendments because we could well have a situation where Parliament would be committed to minutiae. For example, some officers created under statute in fact may be paid only a sitting allowance on a day and how many days they sit may be a matter to be determined over the course of a year, having regard to the number of meetings necessary. Whether this is what the Senate would want or what this House would want is a matter to be considered. I have indicated that during the recess period, in consultation with the Draftsman, I will try to draw up a form which would be constant in all Bills. I envisage that there would be discussion about the proper form that should be used. In the meantime I said that we would accept these amendments and wc would carry out this process.

Later on in the day the Senate had a Bill before it - I apologise for not being able to remember the name of the Bill - and a similar sort of amendment was put. The other place divided on the issue and the amendment failed. Some of the arguments put at that time were the type of argument which I had mentioned earlier in the day. Therefore, I think we must regard this proposal at this stage as not firm. It was not firm earlier in the day and I would not think it is firm now. 1 would think that what I said earlier was appropriate. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) asked specifically whether acceptance of the proposed amendment would mean there would be no pay. I discussed this with the Draftsman and he indicated to me that this was his belief. I then spoke to the honourable member for Dawson about it briefly, giving an outline of the situation. The honourable member indicated that under the circumstances he would not proceed with his amendment. If 1 may say so, I thought this was the proper course. I hope that over the recess we can have the matter properly considered and in consultation we might get a proper formula.

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