Committees - Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:28): I was the deputy chair of that particular committee inquiring into the establishment of a national registration system for Australian paramedics, although I attended very few of the meetings of that committee. I will not repeat my comments on the next report, but it was on the need for a nationally consistent approach to alcohol fuelled violence. I refused to get involved in both of those inquiries. This was the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Commonwealth of Australia, and both of these subjects related to pet hobbies and pet campaigns of the then chairman. While very important issues, they certainly were not matters for the Commonwealth parliament and they were certainly not matters for the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

I only raise that in this context: to plead with senators, as they consider referring matters to committees in this parliament, that they sensibly refer to committees of the federal parliament matters that are within the jurisdiction of the federal parliament and matters that can be dealt with by the particular committee they are referred to. If there was a federal element to this one, then it clearly should have gone to the health committee and not the legal and constitutional affairs committee.

In relation to the other one, the need for a nationally consistent approach to alcohol-fuelled violence, it may have been relevant—I doubt it—to some other area of federal parliamentary import, but certainly it was not a matter for the legal and constitutional affairs committee. I only make those comments to say to senators: refer what you like, but please send it to the right committee and please send it to a committee that does have some federal government jurisdiction in these areas.

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