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Tuesday, 30 May 1989
Page: 3028


Senator ALSTON(6.25) —I make it clear that it is only on the basis that the discretionary word `may' operates satisfactorily in the Social Security Tribunal arena that I am prepared to allow it to proceed on that basis. I have an inbuilt reservation about imposing the mandatory `shall'. It is very difficult to articulate in advance whether problems might arise. But I know from experience that it can cause unforeseen problems. Given that there will be a review and that the experience in the social security area has been positive, I do not foresee too many difficulties arising as a result, assuming always that the Tribunal will act sympathetically. I think it has been made clear from the debate on this clause that we all expect the Tribunal at all times to err on the side of a person who appears not to be proficient in English.