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Thursday, 13 May 1993
Page: 615


Senator FERGUSON (8.51 p.m.) —As I have said before, I have only been in this place for 12 months. In that time I have worked on the Senate Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. I cannot help but support what Senator Archer has said about the amount of work that is involved in that committee. We already have a wide range of departments that have to be represented under industry, science and technology without adding transport and communications, when transport and communications was formerly a committee of its own which handled a wide range of subjects which might involve a tremendous amount of work both outside metropolitan areas and in the metropolitan areas of Australia. I find it hard to believe that that committee can handle all of the legislation that will come before it or be referred to it with a six member committees.

  I know, as I said before, my time has not be been long on that committee, but I know the amount of work that is done. Senator Archer has been on that committee for a considerable number of years—I think he was a former chairman of the committee. If anybody knows the amount of work that is required and the number of reports that have to be tabled by that committee, Senator Archer should after some 17 years.


Senator Kernot —It's the same as every committee.


Senator FERGUSON —It is not the same as every committee because of the number of departments it represents and the amount of legislation that gets referred to it.


Senator Kernot —I have been on it.


Senator FERGUSON —Senator Kernot may have been on it, but all I am saying is that in my experience I know just how much legislation comes before that committee. I think it is ridiculous for a six man committee to try to incorporate all the work that has to be done from those departments, bearing in mind the amount of work that is already undertaken for industry, science and technology and then having to add transport and communications, which has always been a very active committee that has handled so much legislation that has been referred to it. It is quite ridiculous to think that that committee can function as a six man committee with so many departments to service and so much legislation that gets referred to it.

  Debate (on motion by Senator Faulkner) adjourned.