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Tuesday, 30 March 1971

Senator McMANUS (VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   Furtherto the answers by the Prime Minister to Question No. 679 in the House of Representatives on 18th August 1970to a question on notice submitted by Mr Crean, M.P.:

(a)   What is the outcome of 'some attention at Department level', mentioned in part 2 of the reply, and can section 51 of the Commonwealth Constitution be relied upon by the Government in order to pass in the Commonwealth Parliament laws for the rationalisation of and the rendering uniform the conflicting State laws in the field of motor car third party insurance.

(b)   With regard to the Prime Minister's reply to part 4, ashe is prepared to concede the Motor Car Third Party Insurance Acts of the 6 States (and the Ordinances therein of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory) are 'by no means identical', will the Prime Minister consider the time has come for the Commonwealth to intervene in this area.

(c)   As it is clear from the answersto parts 6 and 7 that the deliberations of the Australian Transport Advisory Council have been at a standstill since as long ago as February 1969, will the Commonwealth itself promptly examine the merits of adopting a concept other than 'negligence' as the norm for compensating road acci dent victims and for the financial relief of dependants of those killed,

(d)   In regard to the answer to part 9, is the Prime Minister aware that Saskatchewan, one of the central Provinces of Canada, has satisfactorily operated with 'Absolute Liability' (or, 'the assumption of negligence') as the norm for compensating victims of the Road Toll since 1946 in substitution of 'negligence'.

(2)   In any future inquiry sponsored this time by the Prime Minister, will an assurance be given that evidence will be sought from spokesmen for road victims, the spinal clinic hospitals and such, apart from insurance companies, motoring bodies and law institutes.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - The Prime Minister has provided the following reply to the honourable senator's question:

This question is identical, in all major respects, with Question No. 1657 on the House of Representatives Notice Paper to which the then Prime Minister provided an answer on 16th February 1971. I would refer the honourable senator to page 74 of Hansard (House of Representatives) of that date.

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