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Thursday, 18 November 1976

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles -I suggest that the honourable member get on to the substance of the Bill. That might be more helpful.

Mr BRYANT -How can I get to the substance of a Bill of this complicated nature which was handed down only a few minutes ago? There was not even a copy of it on my desk. The attendant had to go and find one when I asked for it. May I put these questions to the Attorney-General: Is it a fact that this is as a result of a normal process of law by which requests are made to the courts to require somebody to produce documents? Does the Bill relate to a request to a New South Wales court to do that? Will this. Bill allow the Attorney-General to exercise authority over the processes of the New South Wales courts in this regard? If so I do not know whether I object to it or I do not object to it but it certainly does not follow the general procedures of new federalism and everything else. The Attorney-General will be exercising this great authority. With proper respect to the honourable gentleman, the fact is that what happened last year gives me great concern about the way people will exercise power and authority if they get the chance to do so. Therefore I put those questions to the AttorneyGeneral. To those honourable members who are listening I just put this point: We must not allow these things to happen; we have to find a better process. We must not allow legislation to go through which permits extraordinary authority to lie in the hands of one person, even though that person is a Minister. Nor must we allow legislation to go through which inflicts the heavy penalties which I see are proposed in the Bill or which will possibly prevent the proper application of court power in other countries against some of the great forces in the world. We all know that these forces are pretty hard to handle.

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