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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 901

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - The Opposition has an amendment to this clause. I do not think the Government has proposed any amendment. The proposal of the Opposition is that a new sub-clause be added. The clause deals with the constitution and composition of the Trade Practices Commission. It establishes a Trade Practices Commission, provides that its members shall be appointed by the Governor-General, provides for full time members and pan time members and requires the Chairman and the full time members of the Commission to give the whole of their time to the duties of their office. In accordance with the Opposition proposal, I move:

At the end of the clause, add the following new sub-clause:

(5)   A person shall not be appointed as a member of the Commission unless he appears to the Governor-General to be qualified for appointment by virtue of his knowledge of, or experience in, industry, commerce or public administration.'.

We believe there should be some statutory provision indicating the qualifications of the members of the Commission. Nothing is stated at the moment as to what persons are eligible to be appointed. There is no provision indicating the type of qualification to which the Government should look in the composition of the Commission. I think there is a provision in the existing legislation relating to the Trade Practices Tribunal under which the members of the Tribunal have to have some expertise in a particular area.

We suggest that this is a provision which could be usefully inserted into this legislation.

I do not want to disturb the harmony which has so far prevailed in the Committee stage, but we in the Opposition believe that there have been too many appointments to commissions or boards reminiscent of the old appellation attributable to Labor Party governments in the past that it is prone to follow the 'jobs for the b oys' concept. We believe that if, for example, an ex-politician is competent to be a member of the Commission in the light of the qualifications which are sought, the Government can feel entitled to appoint him. But we think we ought to have some indication of the qualifications which a member of the Commission should have. After all the members of the Commission have statutory duties which are set out in subsequent provisions of the Bill, and we believe it is not unreasonable to say that all persons who are to be members of the Commission ought to be qualified for appointment by virtue of their knowledge of or experience in industry, commerce or public administration. Our amendment is tremendously broad, but we at least feel there ought to be some qualification rather than have it completely left open.

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