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Wednesday, 10 May 1989
Page: 2152

Senator HILL(11.16) —The Minister, a little while ago, said to the Senate that the advice that was given by the Attorney-General's Department to the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs in relation to its inquiry headed The Role of Parliament in Relation to the National Companies Scheme was that a national scheme would be constitutionally valid. Although I do not have the submission of the Department at hand, I draw the Minister's attention to paragraph 4.35 of the Committee's report, which makes reference to the Department's submission and says:

The Attorney-General's Department's proposal rests upon three assumptions. First, it assumes that the Commonwealth lacks the constitutional power to regulate the entire area covered by the scheme.

Now that we have clarified what in fact was the Department's advice to the Government at that time, I again ask the question that I asked earlier: has the Department changed its mind? Does the Department now believe that the advice that it gave to the Committee in 1987 was incorrect? On what basis has the Department changed its view on the constitutional validity of this package of Bills?