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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5307

Senator ELLISON (8.06 p.m.) —This area is a particularly sensitive area for the states, naturally, because it deals with the recognition of their arbitral body. The point I make is that, whilst it is a very sensitive area, it should be carefully catered for. I take the minister's point on administrative law; he is, of course, correct. But the problem we have is that it is easier to argue that the minister concerned failed to take into account relevant criteria than to argue that he considered something which was irrelevant, because we can never really know what the minister addressed himself to, although it might be apparent.

  I see this as a problem in the relationship between the Commonwealth and the states. For instance, if the tribunal were to make decisions which the Commonwealth did not like, the Commonwealth minister could then revoke recognition. The point I am making is: could that be a relevant criterion? It makes it very difficult for the states to address the failure to recognise situations in an administrative fashion. It is very difficult to get cases up under administrative law when they are brought on the basis that an irrelevant consideration was taken into account. The minister could say, `These things were considered and this is the answer', but, without being too cynical, there could well be other things playing on a minister's mind.