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Tuesday, 8 October 1985
Page: 809

Senator COATES(4.43) —I defend the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations. Senator Siddons said that it was not clear what his predecessor, former Senator Jack Evans, the spokesperson on these issues, and Opposition and Government members of that Committee had agreed to. The report states:

A complementary recommendation to the recommendation that the number of members be increased was that the second full-time member and two of the part-time members be nominated through the Australian Council of Trade Unions by those industrial organisations whose members make up the contributors to the Superannuation Fund, defined in Clause 4 of the Bill as `relevant industrial organisations'.

The Bill appears not to limit the ACTU nominations to those suggested by the relevant industrial organisations, requiring merely consultation with those organisations in accordance with proposed sub-section (4).

The Committee therefore recommends that sub-section (4) be altered to ensure that the ACTU cannot nominate a person not suggested by a relevant industrial organisation, and that words, such as those that follow, be added to the sub-section:

. . . and unless that person was amongst those persons whose names were submitted to the Australian Council of Trade Unions by a relevant industrial organisation.

The proposed Government amendment is similar but uses the words:

The Australian Council of Trade Unions shall not nominate a person for appointment under sub-section (1) unless (a) the person is a person whose name is among the names of persons submitted to the Australian Council of Trade Unions by relevant industrial organisation as persons appropriate for the nomination; and (b) the Australian Council of Trade Unions has consulted the relevant industrial organisations in relation to the nomination.

That could not be clearer. There is no way that any member of the Committee, including former Senator Jack Evans, could have misunderstood that. I recall our discussion about that and there was no doubt in his mind that that was what we were talking about. In any case, it is not as if the report were tabled after he left this place; it was tabled a good six weeks before he ceased to be a senator. If there was any doubt about it, he could have done something about it in that time. I cannot understand how Senator Siddons can say that Jack Evans did not know that that was what we were talking about, because it was always about the ACTU's nominations. Senator Short, who was a member of that Committee and is in the chamber at present, I am sure can vouch for that as well.