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Thursday, 3 March 1932

Mr BRUCE (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Assistant Treasurer) .- I think the most convenient procedure will he to discuss the whole clause before dealing with the important amendments that are to be proposed. As originally drafted, the bill provided that the AttorneyGeneral "may" apply to the court for a declaration. The provision was not mandatory, and even if the Attorney-General did decide to apply, there was no time limit upon his action. One amendment which I shall move later enacts that the Attorney-General " shall " within a period of two months, apply to the court for a declaration that the amount claimed is due and owing to the Commonwealth by the State concerned. The other important amendment provides that, at any time after the resolution has been passed by both Houses of the Parliament, the Attorney-General for the State concerned may, entirely at his own discretion, and at. any time, make application to the court for a declaration that the amount is not due and owing by the State.

Mr Beasley - But the Government proposes to insert new sub-clauses.

Mr BRUCE (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - I have already dealt with proposed new sub-clauses 3 and 4. Proposed new sub-clauses 5 and 6 provide that any application under either of the last two preceding sub-clauses shall be made by motion, of which not less than three days' notice shall be given, and that the application shall be heard by a Full Court consisting of not less than three justices. Under sub-clause 6 an application is made to the court, and it gives a declaration that a certain sum is due and owing. Under sub-clause 5 it is provided that when the court makes that declaration, resolutions may be passed by both Houses of the Parliament; but under sub-clause 6, the resolutions will have preceded the declaration of the court. Sub-clauses 7 and 8 set out that after the declaration by the court, it will not be necessary to go through the whole of the procedure outlined in sub-clause 5, that having already been done. Subclause 9 merely provides that clauses 7 to 13 of the bill shall cease to apply if the court declares that no amount is due and owing by the State.

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