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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1403

Senator GREENWOOD ( Victoria) -by leave- We acknowledge the notice which has been given to us by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Senator Cavanagh) of when the Estimates Committees will next meet. We appreciate this because it will enable all arrangements to be made. But whilst no opposition is expressed to the sittings of the Estimates Committees during those times, this does raise a question which must be resolved when Estimates Committees next have to consider appropriations in 1974. When the Estimates Committees were established initially they were to sit as part of the Senate during the ordinary Senate sitting hours. That is the practice which has been adopted and adhered to until quite recent times when the opportunity has been taken to fix Estimates Committees hearings at times when the Senate is not sitting. That was not the intention or the basis upon which Estimates Committees were established. I think that this raises very serious questions upon which the Opposition feels there must be consultation with a view to seeing whether the whole format of the Estimates Committees in the way in which they are established should not be reconsidered. We do not by that question the value of Estimates Committees, but we think we must give consideration to the original premise and endeavour to ensure that Estimates Committees are either part of the Senate or outside the Senate.

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