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Thursday, 11 May 1972
Page: 2484

Mr SCHOLES (Corio) - I want to raise a query in relation to this Bill. I ask the Minister whether he can explain the reason for certain words being in a clause in the Bill. I agree with the honourable member for Burke (Mr Keith Johnson) that it would be an advantage if some requirement were placed on a person to have had experience in industrial relations. I can imagine a few people who would qualify for appointment. I have heard them talking about industrial relations and they are so naive about the subject that it is not funny. A substantial number of qualifications are set out for the appointment of a Deputy President, but towards the end of the clause the following words appear:

And is, in the opinion of the Governor-General, by reason of his qualifications, experience and standing in the Australian community, a fit and proper person to discharge the duties of a Deputy President.

I am interested in what the words 'standing in the Australian community' mean. Do they mean that the person must be well known? They obviously do not mean that he has to be a fit and proper person because that is provided for separately in the Bill. The words must mean something, yet they appear to have no operative function whatever. I ask the Minister: Within the term standing in the community', what would disqualify a fit and proper person who was qualified under other sections of the Bill from the appointment as a Deputy President.

It seems to me to be a very funny thing to write into a Bill and I ask the Minister whether he would explain to the House why these words appear. If a person is a fit and proper person to discharge these duties and has the necessary qualifications and experience, what is the other requirement which is supposed to appear in the Bill but which is clouded in words which do not appear to mean anything to me?

The other matter I wish to raise - I think that this has been explained - is that I hope that the Minister can assure the House that a high position in industrial relations applies to both sides of industrial relations and not to only one side as could well be the case. I ask the Minister why these words are in the Bill, because they seem to be completely pointless when taken in the total context of the clause.

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