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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1331

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (Minister for Air) - The Standing Orders Committee has recommended to the Senate that any decision with respect to any Estimates Committee taking in camera evidence should be made only by the Senate itself upon receiving a special report from the particular committee. I move:

That the report be adopted.

I point out that, if evidence were taken in camera, it may have only limited value because the evidence may not be known to the whole Senate, which has the responsibility - not the Estimates Committees - of passing appropriations. It has never been the practice for the Committee of the Whole to consider any part of the Estimates in camera. I think, therefore, that any Estimates Committee desiring to take evidence in private session should make a case to the Senate, which may then consider the particular circumstances and make a judgment.

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