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Thursday, 31 August 1989
Page: 756

Senator BOSWELL(10.20) —The amendment that the Opposition has moved is to add after the words, `the Commission shall, in consultation with the Minister, review the corporate plan regularly', the following new subsection:

The Commission is not required to comply with any direction given by the Minister about the contents of the corporate plan.

Senator Coulter presents an argument to the Committee that this legislation will be defunct in a matter of time. That may be the case, but the facts are that we have no crystal ball and we do not know what is going to happen in the future. We are debating the legislation before us at the moment. I believe that the amendment that we are asking the Committee to carry takes away any contention that the Minister, whether in consultation, by direction or in any other way, can interfere with the corporate plan. The amendment gives to the ADC the right to manage its own corporate plan. I do not think there is anything wrong with our amendment.

One thing about the debate that has raged over the past eight months is that both sides of the Parliament and the Democrats are in agreement that self-management, self-determination, is the right way to go for the Aboriginal and Islander people. There is no argument between us. There is an argument as to how we reach the goal. The amendment that we are now asking the Committee to carry is going to make that goal so much easier. It is going to take away any fear, if I can put it in those terms, that the Minister might be able to interfere with the corporate plan. I ask Senator Coulter whether he would give further consideration to supporting the amendment.