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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 1511

Senator GEORGES (QUEENSLAND) - My question which is directed to the Attorney-General may bear on a question asked by Senator Turnbull. What stage has been reached by the Bland Committee in its examination of those numerous discretions which are available to Commonwealth departments through the various statutes and regulations and which, if exercised arbitrarily, can and do affect the rights of the citizens?

Senator GREENWOOD - I am unable to say what stage the Committee has reached in its deliberations, and I imagine that I will be unable to say anything about the Committee's work until it has reported. I would have thought that it would be a strange type of independent inquiry if the Minister was being told constantly what was happening in the course of the Committee's work. All I can say is that the Committee started its work last December. Reports which have come to me indicate that the members of the Committee are assiduously pursuing their activities. It ought to be appreciated that they have a wide range of departments and statutes which they must investigate. It is part of a continuing work which flows from the Kerr Committee report of last year. It is an earnest of the Government's concern to ensure that any action which is taken in the area of reviewing administrative discretions is based on the fullest information available.

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