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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1350


Senator COONEY —I give notice that, seven sitting days after today, I shall move:

That the Student Assistance Regulations (Amendment), as contained in Statutory Rules 1986 No. 381 and made under the Student Assistance Act 1973, be disallowed.

That the Blood Donation (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) (Amendment) Ordinance (No. 2) of 1986, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 90 of 1986 and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910, be disallowed.

That the Fisheries Levy (Northern Prawn Fishery) Regulations (Amendment), as contained in Statutory Rules 1986 No. 397 and made under the Fisheries Levy Act 1984, be disallowed.

That the Northern Prawn Fishery (Special Provisions) Management Plan, as contained in Plan of Management No. 12 of 19 January 1987 and made under the Fisheries Act 1952, be disallowed.

That the Lands Ordinance 1987 as contained in the Territory of Christmas Island Ordinance No. 1 of 1987 and made under the Christmas Island Act 1958, be disallowed.

That amendments of the Schedule of the Scheme under Section 4 of the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act 1965 in relation to the States of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, as contained in the Amendment dated 15 December 1986 and made under the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act 1965, be disallowed.

That the New South Wales Acts Ordinance 1986, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 91 of 1986 and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910, be disallowed.

I seek leave to have the list of the instruments, with a short description of the concerns of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The list read as follows-

Student Assistance Regulations (Amendment) as contained in Statutory Rules 1986 No. 381 and made under the Student Assistance Act 1973. (Made 18.12.86, tabled 17.2.87, last day to give notice 26.3.87)

Parts of these Regulations are retrospective in operation and the Committee is seeking from the Minister for Education clarification that no one is prejudiced. The Committee also seeks clarification of students rights to assistance in connection with the Higher School Certificate course in the Australian Capital Territory where that course is not extensively pursued while the A.C.T. Year 12 Certificate course, is not referred to in the Regulations, is pursued.

Blood Donation (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) (Amendment) Ordinance (No. 2) of 1986 as contained in A.C.T. Ordinance No. 90 of 1986 and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910. (Made 18.12.86, tabled 17.2.87, last day to give notice 26.3.87)

This amendment repealed a sunset clause in the Ordinance. The clause had been inserted at the request of the Committee to facilitate a thorough review of the Principal Ordinance which, in the absence of unqualified insurance cover, confers on the A.C.T. Red Cross Society a statutory defence when sued by a person with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The legislation is problematic in its application to veterans. The Committee was not apprised of the outcome of the review or informed of the decision to repeal the sunset clause. The Committee is seeking this information and clarification from the Minister for Territories.

Fisheries Levy (Northern Prawn Fishery) Regulations (Amendment) as contained in Statutory Rules 1986 No. 397 and made under the Fisheries Levy Act 1984. (Made 18.12.86, tabled 17.2.87, last day to give notice 26.3.87)

These Regulations were designed to correct, retrospectively, an error in drafting. As a result of the error the Regulations did not reflect the intention of the Government's levy collection policy but the policy itself was in fact executed, contrary to the terms of the Regulations. A particular levy of $5 per fishing unit was intended, $10 was in fact prescribed by the Regulations for certain fishing units and $5 was collected. The Committee is seeking the Minister's clarification of the effects of the retrospectivity.

Northern Prawn Fishery (Special Provisions) Management Plan as contained in Plan of Management No. 12 of 19 January 1987 and made under the Fisheries Act 1952. (Made 19.1.87, tabled 17.2.87, last day to give notice 26.3.87)

The Committee has raised with the Minister a number of points including some confusing drafting errors, the existence of adequate review rights and the legal validity of a part of the Plan.

Lands Ordinance 1987 as contained in the Territory of Christmas Island Ordinance No. 1 of 1987 and made under the Christmas Island Act 1958. (Made 30.1.87, tabled 17.2.87, last day to give notice 26.3.87).

This Ordinance reforms provisions for the control of leasehold land on Christmas Island. The Ordinance overrides existing laws and leases and the Committee is seeking clarification as to whether this could result in prejudice to individuals. Also certain ministerial Guidelines are not subject to parliamentary oversight, certain important discretions are not subject to avenues of review and there are a number of confusing drafting errors. The Committee is seeking the Minister's views on all of these matters.

Amendments of the Schedule of the Scheme under Section 4 of the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act 1965 in relation to the States of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania as contained in the Amendment dated 15 December 1986 and made under the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act 1965. (Made 15.12.86, tabled 17.2.87, last day to give notice 26.3.87).

This instrument is one of a wide and voluminous range of delegated legislative instruments which are sometimes retrospective in operation and affect monetary entitlements. They are subject to scrutiny by the Committee, and tabling and disallowance in Parliament but they are not sequentially numbered for ease of citation nor annotated nor accompanied by any form of even brief explanatory document, notwithstanding that their meaning and impact are rarely apparent on their face. Printing, circulation and public access to such instruments can also be problematic. The Committee has written to the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce drawing these significant presentational defects to his attention and requesting his views on them.

New South Wales Acts Ordinance 1986 as contained in A.C.T. Ordinance No. 91 of 1986 and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910. (Made 18.12.86, tabled 17.2.87, last day to give notice 26.3.87).

The Committee has written to the Attorney-General about the re-enactment of certain old New South Wales Acts which are in force in the A.C.T. but which, because the re-enactment is not also a reform, contain provisions which could be at variance with the Committee's Principles. The provisions relate to strict liability offences, arrest without warrant and reversals of the onus of proof. The notice will give the Attorney-General and the Committee a longer period to consider the issues.


Senator COONEY —Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.


Senator COONEY —The Committee has written to various Ministers about a number of pieces of delegated legislation which it has been considering. To enable all of the Ministers to reply and to allow the Committee proper opportunity to examine the replies, I have given these protective notices of motion on this the last day on which I could do so.