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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1703

Mr SCHOLES (Corio) - I move:

That the following words be added to the question. subject to proposed standing order No. 132 being amended by adding the words: "The Minister shall, within twenty-one sitting days of the presentation of a petition or the presentation of the first petition of a series of petitions, notify the House what action has been taken with respect to the petition" '.

If honourable members study the proposed standing order they will note that petitions, after being presented to the House, are referred to the relevant Minister. What my amendment seeks is to place an obligation on the Minister to notify the House what has happened to the petitions. I would imagine that this would be done by way of report to the House. This information could be tabled in the House. In this way it would be included in Hansard or dealt with in the same way as answers to questions on notice. In many cases one would not expect very detailed answers. If the House directs that these matters be referred to a Minister I think it is equally in order for the House to direct that the Minister should let the House know what has happened to the petitions.

My amendment sets out that the Minister Shall notify the House within a period of 21 days. In the terminology of this place that is very close to half a year. I do not think this is an unreasonable length of time in which the Minister should report back to the House on what has happened. To me the amendment does not seem to contain anything substantial. It just requires that not only do we refer petitions to the Minister but that the Minister has an obligation to tell the House what has happened. Even if he tells us that no action has been taken he would at least have let us know what the situation is.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is the amendment seconded?

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