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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1313

Senator MURPHY - Mr President, I am conscious of what you said earlier, but I would like to ask Senator Cotton a question supplementary to that which he answered earlier in response to Senator McManus. That was about the legal requirements for approval by the Premier of South Australia. The Minister said he believed that permission had to be granted by the Premier of South Australia. In view of the suggestions that have been made about the matter, will the Minister, rather than leaving it at that stage, put before the Senate at the earliest opportunity some opinion from the appropriate Commonwealth constitutional or legal authorities, explaining precisely to the Senate whether any approval was given and, if so, what kind of approval and for what purposes?

Senator COTTON - Mr President,it has been ruled, I think, by you, and there are historical precedents, that legal opinions must neither be sought nor given. I did not attempt to do that. When Senator McManus asked me a question I was remembering my halcyon days on the Senate Select Committee on Off-Shore Petroleum Resources when we directed a lot of our time to this problem of interstate trade and the consequential legal and constitutional responsibility. I emerged from that exercise with some understanding that there was a very strong sanction and that the States did have to co-operate in full. I understand that the State Designated Authority would be the responsible person here. Senator Murphy, in addition to Senator McManus, raises the query that there is a South Australian interest in the matter. Senator McManus asks - and this was added to by Senator Murphy - what the South Australian Premier is doing about the South Australian interest. I shall certainly seek to find out that information for the honourable senators.

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