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Wednesday, 17 May 1972
Page: 2729

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - I think that the opening remarks of the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) are unworthy of him and not typical of his normal character in this Parliament. The honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) pressed and fought for this Institute over a long period of time. Because of a necessity which could attack even the honourable member for Wills, he departed from the chamber for the few minutes that drew the unworthy comment from the honourable member for Wills. The Government cannot accept this amendment. The amendment moved by the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) reveals a basic difference between the philosophies of both sides- of this Parliament about the way in which this kind of Institute ought to be established and run. The question of numbers on the Council is a matter for judgment. The Interim Council itself placed the numbers at not fewer than 3 - a chairman and 2 other members. The Government came to the decision, having in mind the scope., seriousness and importance of the Institute, that the numbers of the Council should be 5 - a chairman and 4 other members. That is the reason we have, chosen those numbers.

But going beyond that, we believe people appointed to the council should be appointed for their own particular expertise and standing, largely, of course, in the scientific field. We do not believe that people should become representatives of organisations on a body of this. kind. While organisations themselves might, and would, have a high standing and knowledge in their own particular areas we do not believe that organisations as ' organisations ought to be represented but that the Government should take the responsibility for appointing to a council such as this people who, because of their expertise, standing, knowledge and excellence, are able to contribute as one would expect. I think that this arrangement broadens the scope for people of the best possible standing and quality to have the opportunity to get on to the council. In other words, there is no limit to the scientific field from which people can be chosen to be placed upon the council in the form in which the Government proposes.

I do not believe that it would be appropriate for someone from this House or from the Senate to be a member of the council. I know that there are some traditions in another area. Members of the Parliament serve on the Council of the Australian National University. Also, the honourable members for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) and Wakefield (Mr Kelly) are members of the advisory committee of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. These precedents might lead to the suggestion that such representation might be allowed to occur in this area. I would envisage that the council or the director would establish advisory committees in a number of fields and it would be op to that body or the director to determine who ought to be on these committees. But I do not think it is a proper function for a member of the Parliament to serve on the council. Therefore, I think that this part of the amendment basically falls to the ground. The Government stands on its own proposals in this matter and must oppose the amendment.

Thursday, 18 May 1972

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