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Wednesday, 26 June 1996
Page: 2275


Senator HERRON (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs)(4.37 p.m.) —Before responding, I will answer Senator Collins's question. The board is not sacked; they remain in office, and their powers will resume after the administrator ceases. That is the first point. Secondly, my understanding is it would be major fraud involving the commissioners, and this understanding was reflected in my second reading speech. That is, only in exceptional circumstances would that be invoked.

In response to Senator Chamarette's question, I inform the chamber that there was no intention whatsoever in our policy to get rid of ATSIC. That was stated quite clearly in our policy and I have restated it on a number of occasions since. The clause related purely to accountability and the sanction that could apply if these extraordinary circumstances should occur. As I mentioned last Friday, perhaps something should have been inserted right at the beginning in the ATSIC Act. I am not sure that it was even discussed. Senator Bob Collins said it was not brought up at any stage because of the concern about self-management.


Senator Kernot —No, because there were very many layers of accountability in the bill as a result of 200 amendments.


Senator Bob Collins —I said that it was canvassed at length.


Senator HERRON —Did you? But I think it was not proceeded with.