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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 910

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - Senator Guilfoylehas indicated that she thinks there are certain other clauses which relate to hearings and she referred to clause 20. That is so. As I indicated earlier it seems to me and to those who advise me to be quite clear that the exemption which is contained in clause 29 extends to all clauses and not merely clauses 22, 23 or 20. They are all tied up with the exercises of the functions contained in Part VII. I have had the advantage of having the First Parliamentary Counsel looking at it and as I understand it he has said that if we want to pick up all of this we could deal with it in another way to allay any misgivings. One way would be to take out the word 'under' in the phrase . . under Part VII', in clause 29(1) and insert 'related directly or indirectly to Part VH', that would cover all of those matters.

It seems to the Government that that ought to satisfy what the Opposition has in mind. I am ad idem with them. I agree that clearly the Commission in the exercise of such functions as the determination as to whether evidence be taken on oath, whether the procedure of a hearing, authorisations and clearances be in private and how a witness gives his evidence should not be subject to any kind of direction. There is no difference between what the Government and the Opposition think should be contained in the legislation. It is only a matter of whether what is contained in the Bill carries out my intention and the intention of honourable senators opposite. It seemed to us that in its present form it did so. If we can put the matter beyond doubt and satisfy the Opposition, let us do so. The Parliamentary Counsel advises that if the words 'related directly or indirectly to Part VII' are inserted the objections will be met. Therefore, instead of inserting the words which I suggested previously be inserted, I would be prepared to move now to delete the word 'under' and insert the words which I have just mentioned. I hope that then we might get a consensus.

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