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Wednesday, 22 March 1972
Page: 818

The CHAIRMAN - The point of order is not upheld.

Senator BYRNE - Thank you, Mr Chairman. Senator Cavanagh then propounds this proposition: If he should be, say, a dissentient on the committee which decided not to publish evidence-

The CHAIRMAN - Senator Cant,you will cease, reflecting upon a judgment of the Chair.

Senator BYRNE - If Senator Cavanagh's proposition is that if he should be a dissentient from the decision of the committee not to publish evidence and he thinks it should be published he then rises in the Senate and says: 'In my opinion this body of evidence should be published'. If opinion evidence is given in a court, no matter how eminent the person is who gives it, it would be an incredible thing if the court were to say that Dr Bloggs or Mr Smith has given this evidence and he has given this evidence of opinion that 'in my opinion, so and so', and on that the court makes its judgment.

But what happens? The opinion which is ventured by Dr Bloggs or Mr Smith is tested by examination and crossexamination as to the basis on which the opinion rests. Therefore, if Senator Cvanagh propounds an opinion here, and the Senate is asked to make a decision, it is not on his opinion - it is on the facts on which he makes one opinion and on which the Senate may well make a totally different opinion. It may make an opinion concurring with his or it may make an opinion completely contrary to that expressed by the honourable senator.

I say that the proposition put forward by Senator Cavanagh is an incredible one. The proposition of Senator Murphy, I think, is a correct assessment - that the procedures should have some similarity with judicial proceedings. Any procedure, that would be totally unacceptable and intolerable in judicial proceedings is not to be followed. It would completely contradict the whole of the procedures of examination and the testing of the credibility and compellability of evidence. I think my proposition is validly made and has not been answered by the honourable senator.

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