Bipartisan Approach

Victor Perton

Continued from a paper: Parliamentary Protection of Rights in Victoria

Although some of the Committee's findings are not unanimous, an excellent feature of the committee's work is that of its bipartisan approach. The Committee members genuinely work hard to ensure that all the issues are adequately discussed and all views taken into account.

This bipartisanship is especially commendable when, in the words of the now retired Senator Austin Lewis, 'party political discipline in politics today is stricter and more remorseless than at any other time is this country's political history. '

Although at times this bipartisan approach causes personal political grief for all the members of the Committee, both Liberal and Labor alike, I do think the community is better served at the end of the day. The nine members of the Committee have been able to remove political partisanship from their deliberations in order to really make the thing work!

The Committee has already been the object of substantial studies by two university students. Greg Norton, who prepared a progress report on the Committee's activities to June 1993, wrote:

Subsequently, the Committee's position has continued to be strengthened. In a recent debate between the Attorney and the Shadow Attorney, the only agreement was that the Committee was doing `a fantastic job.' In February 1995, the Premier applauded our law reform work and ordered Ministers to cooperate with the Committee in its review of redundant and badly drafted legislation on a portfolio by portfolio method.

Overall, the enthusiasm of the community to make submissions, the coverage given to the Committee in the press and substantial support from commentators makes the Committee's continued life appear assured.


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updated 13 May 1996
Victor Perton
victorp@vicnet.net.au