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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3411

Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry and Commerce and Minister Assisting the Minister for Communications)(4.42) —Senator Chipp has outlined a particular circumstance as an example to illustrate his question. The answer to the question Senator Chipp has asked is simply this: If an allegation becomes the subject matter of an inquiry, it is not necessary for an offence to have been committed for this legislation to operate.

Senator Chipp —I refer the Minister to clause 3 (a) (ii). Clause 3 (a) relates to information that:

(i) is relevant to the purpose of the inquiry; and

(ii) relates, . . . to . . . a relevant offence . . .

The provision does not say 'or'; it says 'and'.

Senator BUTTON —As I read that clause, it relates to information that is relevant to the purpose of the inquiry. It would be necessary to look at the purpose of the inquiry. Senator Chipp directed his attention particularly to a term of reference of the inquiry. The word joining that provision and the next is 'and'. Paragraph (ii) then states:

(ii) relates, or appears to relate, to the commission, or intended commission, of a relevant offence specified in the notice of the request;

It does not mean that an offence has to be committed. It may be that somebody intended to commit an offence and that is the allegation, or it may be that it relates to an offence or appears to relate to the commission of an offence. I follow that on by going back to what I was saying. An offence does not have to be committed to invoke the provisions of this Bill in relation to this inquiry which is referred to in the earlier clauses of the Bill.