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Thursday, 6 September 1984
Page: 573

Senator COATES —On behalf of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances I present the seventy-fifth report of the Committee dated September 1984 on legislation considered for the period February to June 1984.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator COATES —by leave-I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

This is the third report of the Regulations and Ordinance Committee to be tabled this year. The seventy-fourth report was tabled in March and the Committee's special report on certain regulations and an ordinance, dealing with censorship, was tabled in May. The seventy-fifth report gives a full account of the Committee's scrutiny of delegated legislation over the period February to June 1984, during which time the Committee, on behalf of the Senate, examined 268 statutory instruments.

The Committee has sought and obtained promises of amendments to a number of instruments. Typical of provisions regarded by the Committee as defective are subjectively based decision making processes, persuasive burdens of proof on defendants, lack of appeal rights against decisions by public officials, penalties which go beyond the limit authorised by the principal legislation and conclusive certificates based upon a single judgment rather than that of an expert panel. This report includes a full account of the Committee's pursuit of the amendment of these and other provisions. I point out that during the period under consideration the Committee moved on only three occasions to give notice to disallow an instrument but on no occasion did it have to proceed to move to disallow any instrument.

On behalf of the Committee I thank the Ministers and officials who co-operated with its inquiry, who agreed to amendments which will overcome provisions which, for the reasons outlined in the report, the Committee regards as defective. I draw the attention of the Senate to a discussion chapter in the report on principle (d) of the Committee's terms of reference as they affect the Australian Capital Territory. I ask those interested in this issue to read that chapter and to let the Committee know if they have any views affecting the operation of principle (d). This will enable the Committee to finalise the application of that principle to the Australian Capital Territory by the time it reports again. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.