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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3090

Senator PETER RAE(10.21) —The purpose of the Australian Trade Commission Bill is to establish another quango which does not comply with the requirements for a statutory authority set out in the policy issued by the present Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and the former Attorney-General, Senator Gareth Evans, in their paper on Labor and the quality of government. The Bill does not comply with all the essential features of a statutory authority which the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations set out. It listed in considerable detail many of the safeguards that are desirable and necessary in establishing a statutory authority.

This stage of the proceedings is neither the time nor the place to debate this question in detail. It is a matter of great regret to me that the time and circumstances are not such that we can apply our diligence suitably in the consideration of what ought to be the proper requirements for the creation of a responsible, operational, functional statutory authority. I simply express my regret that the circumstances at the end of this session are such that it is not possible to do so. I would have liked this matter to be considered in some detail in Committee. I would have liked it even to be referred for consideration to the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations.

I hope that when the Senate creates its next statutory authority it will consider what the requirements ought to be and that it will make sure that it does not do what it has done over the years; that is, create monsters and creatures which are not properly accountable. It has created bodies which it has subsequently criticised through its committee system when those bodies are investigated and it is found that the Parliament has been recreant in its duty in creating such bodies by not ensuring that they would be proper, operational and functional. I simply rise to express my regret that the circumstances are such that we will not be able to follow that procedure in relation to this body.

Bills agreed to.

Bills reported without amendment; report adopted.