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Social Welfare - Senate Standing Committee - Reports - Outstanding References, May 1976

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Parliamentary Paper No. 127/1976

The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia


Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare

May 1976

Brought up and

ordered to be printed 26 M ay 1976

The A cting C om m onw ealth G overnm ent P rinter

C anberra 1977


Senator P. E. BAUME (N.S.W.) Chairman Senator W. W. C. BROWN (Victoria) Senator D. J. GRIMES (Tasmania) Senator J. I. MELZER (Victoria) Senator T. J. TEHAN (Victoria) Senator M. S. WALTERS (Tasmania)

Secretary Mr R. P. Joske The Senate

Printed by Authority by the Acting Commonwealth Government Printer


1. The Senate Standing Committee on Social Welfare and six other Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees were established by resolution of the Senate on 2 March 1976. This Committee replaced the former Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare. Under the terms of the resolution establishing these Com­

mittees, they were empowered ‘where applicable . . . to inquire into and report upon such matters as were referred to the Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees appointed during previous sessions and not disposed of by those Com­ mittees’. The aim of this report is to inform the Senate and other interested persons of

the Social Welfare Committee’s intentions concerning the references which were not disposed of by the former Health and Welfare Committee.

Outstanding References 2. When Parliament was dissolved in November 1975 the Senate Standing Com­ mittee on Health and Welfare had three outstanding references: 1. Introduction of a National Superannuation Scheme

2. Relevant Aspects of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse 3. Rehabilitation Services for the Disadvantaged.

National Superannuation Scheme

3. On 7 April 1971 ‘the introduction of a national superannuation scheme and the methods of financing and operating such a scheme’ was referred to the Health and Welfare Committee.

4. On 7 June 1973 the Committee informed the Senate that as a committee of inquiry with similar terms of reference had been established under Professor Hancock, the Committee would, unless the Senate directed otherwise, not proceed with the reference but would reconsider this view following receipt of the Hancock Com­

mittee ’s report.

5. An interim report was presented by Professor Hancock in June 1974. More re­ cently Professor Hancock was directed to complete the inquiry this year. Conse­ quently, our Committee considers that the most appropriate course of action is to

stand by the earlier decision to reconsider this reference after the presentation of the Hancock Report.

Relevant Aspects of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse 6. During the debate on this report in the Senate on 22 August 1972, the following motion was adopted:

That the Senate take note of the Report, and that the medical, social environmental and legal aspects of the Report and recommendations of the Committee be referred to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare, the Standing Committee on Social Environment and the Standing Committee on Consti­ tutional and Legal Affairs respectively, and that those three Committees be authorised to undertake the

continuing oversight of those aspects and to recommend from time to time what further measures might be taken to implement the recommendations, or to overcome the problems revealed in the Report.

7. Consequent to this the former Health and Welfare Committee tabled in February 1975, Report No. 1, of the Continuing Oversight of the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse.


8. Although there has now been an extensive investigation on drug usage by the Sen­ ate, the Committee feels that there is still much to be done in this area. This view was reinforced by the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs in April 1976 in its Report on Outstanding References wherein it recommended that the continuing oversight be carried out by one Committee, namely, the Social Welfare Committee. 9. Accordingly, the Committee will continue the oversight and from time to time will investigate selected aspects raised in earlier reports. Initially, the Committee intends to examine further the extent and nature of the inappropriate use of alcohol, tobacco, narcotics and other drugs.

Rehabilitation Services for the Disadvantaged 10. On 11 September 1973 the Senate adopted a motion referring the following mat­ ter to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare: Rehabilitation Services for the Disadvantaged (Handicapped) including the total requirements neces­

sary for the optimum provision of these services, particularly in the educational, medical, social and vocational aspects of rehabilitation, and having regard to: (a) the overlapping and gaps in the existing services; (b) the integration of rehabilitation services into compensation legislation; (c) training and teaching staff (educational, medical, social and vocational) in rehabilitation and

rehabilitation techniques; and (d) the need to recommend provisions for total care of the disadvantaged, taking into account their return, where possible, to (i) full employment and (ii) the home, and where (i) and (ii) are not

achievable, to either sheltered employment or full nursing care.

11. Because of the number of inquiries impinging on rehabilitation that were then being held, the Committee saw its role within these terms of reference as a co­ ordinating one rather than one giving a detailed factual rehabilitation report. On 10 April 1974 the Committee presented a report to the Senate saying that in view of the extension of Mr Justice Woodhouse’s terms of reference on 1 February 1974, allow­ ing an overall co-ordinating view, the Committee would delay further consideration until Mr Justice Woodhouse had reported. This conclusion was again further reinfor­ ced by the number of other inquiries that were then being conducted in the rehabilita­ tion area.

12. All submissions on this subject received by the Committee were forwarded to Mr Justice Woodhouse and the authors of these submissions were informed of this action.

13. After the tabling of the Woodhouse report, which included a draft National Compensation Bill, in June 1974, a substantially similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives and after some amendments were made, it was sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and

Legal Affairs. This Committee reported in July 1975 and recommended that the National Compensation Bill 1974 be withdrawn and reconsidered. 14. In view of the number of inquiries that have been carried out in this field, further possible government initiatives and the existence of the National Advisory Council for the Handicapped (under the Chairmanship of Mr Justice C. L. D. Meares), the Committee has decided not to proceed with this reference.

Conclusion 15. In summary, the Committee reports to the Senate that it has made the following decisions in regard to the outstanding references of the former Health and Welfare Committee:


1. The National Superannuation reference is to be retained but a decision as to whether the Committee will proceed with an inquiry will not be taken until Professor Hancock’s final report on National Superannuation is presented. 2. The oversight under the Drug Use reference is to be continued and, initially,

the extent and nature of the problem is to be examined further. 3. The Rehabilitation Services reference will not be proceeded with.

P e t e r B a u m e


Parliament House May 1976