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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5263

Senator REID —by leave—Mr President, before we proceed to notices of motion, I would like to ask you a question which you would not be able to answer now, but which I would hope you may be able to answer later in the day, relating to the status of senators on certain national bodies to which they are appointed by the Senate.

  Mr President, you would be aware that the Senate does appoint senators to the National Library Council, the National Archives Council, the Australian National University, and one other body. In view of the recent High Court decision in the Cleary case, I wonder whether you would be able to obtain a legal opinion as to whether, in regard to those senators so appointed, that could be construed as an office of profit under the Crown. They are certainly not paid in any of those positions, but you might say there is status for a senator to be so appointed. I am the Senate representative on the National Archives Council, on which I am very pleased to serve. Is that capable of being construed as an office of profit under the Crown? I think it is something that needs to be cleared up.

The PRESIDENT —I will seek an answer to the issue raised by Senator Reid as quickly as possible and hope to give it to the Senate today.