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Friday, 6 December 1985
Page: 3159

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(1.31) —in reply-Senator Archer raised with me a day or so ago the implications of section 72 of the Constitution for the Judicial and Statutory Officers (Remuneration and Allowances) Amendment Bill. The short point is that it is the Parliament that is still fixing the amount of remuneration payable to judges and other statutory officers within the meaning of section 72 of the Constitution but that the Parliament is, in fact, acting on the advice of the Remuneration Tribunal, although for all practical purposes that advice-the Tribunal having been set up by statute-is invariably accepted. Nonetheless, there is no obligation, statutory or otherwise, on this Parliament to accept the products of the Remuneration Tribunal's determination, so to that extent the fixing of the salaries is still done by the Parliament rather than by the other Tribunal. That really is the short answer to the--

Senator Archer —So the actual remuneration is not taken out of the hands of the Parliament?

Senator GARETH EVANS —No, it is always up to the Parliament to accept, reject or amend such recommendations of the Tribunal and to that extent it is the Parliament that is doing the fixing. But, of course, in all our interests and for the sake of all our sanity, we hope that there will continue to be acceptance of the principle of an independent tribunal for practical purposes, if not legal and constitutional purposes, doing the fixing or the determination. I thank Senator Archer for his support for the Bill on behalf of the Opposition and I wish it a speedy passage.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.