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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5331

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (10.10 p.m.) —It is different if one is making a decision pursuant to an express statutory authority rather than just a general cabinet decision. If one has an explicit responsibility to make a decision with at least the criteria set out here—or criterion in each case of interest—one has something upon which it is easier for a judicial review exercise to bite if there is a belief that it is improper. The judicial review process would not seek to second-guess the substantive policy decision. It would only determine that, as I keep saying, improper or irrelevant considerations were taken into account.

  The whole point of this is to allow executive governments, at the end of the day, to make the necessarily balanced judgment, weighing and balancing the competing interests involved and coming down on one side or the other. If there is an element of corruption or anything else that made the decision an improper one there would be the capacity to review it, but there would not be a lot of scope for that. This is something that has been constantly sought. This is a concession, in effect, to those who are concerned that, for example, insufficient attention may have been given by the tribunal in a particularly important case to national economic interests. This is an opportunity for some redress to be given.