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Tuesday, 7 December 1976
Page: 3396

Dr JENKINS (Scullin) -The Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Eric Robinson) having replied I would briefly like to make a plea, in addition to that made by the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Dr Cass), with regard to this amendment. I believe the amendment is a sensible one. I will accept the assurance of the Minister that it is intended to make the reports public. But in the parliamentary sense this is not always a satisfactory procedure for reports of tribunals of this nature which are conducting inquiries and which may, as is indicated by this clause, have varying opinions.

I suppose that we as parliamentarians are expected to keep an eye on what happens in respect of these sort of statutory bodies and that we should be able to discuss what is contained in their reports. It is rather more difficult for us to do this if a report is not published and tabled in the Parliament. I think the Minister should consider the suggestion that it is not a bad general principle that these sort of reports should actually come to the Parliament where they are tabled. The majority of reports tabled in this Parliament, of course, will go quietly by, as they always do, in our office in and out trays. But at least we will have the opportunity to note them and to bring them forward for discussion in a much easier manner. It may be that eventually the Parliament will reach the stage of maturity where reports that are required to be tabled will all be effectively examined by members of the House through a proper committee system.

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