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Tuesday, 13 December 1983
Page: 3679

Senator MACKLIN(5.40) —I do not propose now to go ahead with moving the proposed amendment I have circulated which is similar in wording to amendment No. (18) moved by the Opposition. I think that the assurance given by the Minister is precisely what the Australian Democrats were also seeking. I must admit that we were not too successful in getting that type of assurance from the previous Government, and I hope that the current Government will give us such assurances more often. I believe there is a settled view, and I presume it is shared by all parties, that where an evaluative decision is to be made by the Minister, it is the right of a citizen to be able to make an appeal on that decision, which is not as onerous as taking it to the Federal Court of Australia , which could be an expensive business particularly for a poor school. A less onerous and more effective way to deal with most matters has been to establish a specialist committee under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. I think that the specialist committee is needed for one other reason and that is that most of the evaluative decisions which may have to be made on appeal would be of such a nature that if they were not made in a very short space of time after the appeal , there would not be much point in pursuing them, because the effect would be such that the school involved would probably not be around.

We believe the other amendment moved by the Opposition is reasonable. We cannot support it here, but I certainly appeal to the Minister to look at the notion contained within that amendment, which is certainly worthy of support. We hope that at a later stage, and certainly the next time this Bill comes before the Senate, an amendment will be included to allow such instruments as were included in the Opposition's amendment which provided for the possibility of making some disallowance in relation to the definition of what might be a developing area under sub-clause (20). That was probably the idea that Senator Baume had in mind so that that determination or some other determination or instrument issued by the Minister might also be able to be the subject of scrutiny by this chamber.