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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3196

Senator MACKLIN(9.17) —To the States Grants (Tertiary Education Assistance) Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1986, I move:

(1) Page 2, paragraph 3 (c), paragraph (d) of the proposed new definition of `relevant enrolment', lines 37 and 38, leave out `by the Minister for the purposes of this paragraph by notice in writing published in the Gazette'', insert ``in the regulations as a class of persons for the purposes of this paragraph'.

I have a number of questions for the Minister for Education (Senator Ryan) concerning this amendment. First, as the Bill stands the Minister would be able to exempt categories of people in receipt of Commonwealth benefits or allowances simply by notice in writing published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills notes that this may be considered to subject the exercise of legislative power insufficiently to parliamentary scrutiny. It says:

Notices specifying classes of persons to be excluded under paragraph (d) are not subject to tabling and disallowance as they would be, for example, if the Minister were required to specify the classes of people excluded in regulations.

Accordingly, the Australian Democrats move this amendment. Over the last few months it has become almost accepted that the Government will approve such amendments. Luckily, such provisions now appear less and less in the various Bills that come before us. This matter has been raised quite a number of times in the past by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee and I believe it should be pushed fairly heavily in the Committee stage. The Scrutiny of Bills Committee has been effective in tightening up the drafting of Bills. I hope that the Government is amenable to proceeding with this matter by regulation rather than by gazettal, the method chosen.