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Monday, 30 March 1987
Page: 1435

Senator COONEY —I give notice that, 11 sitting days after today, I shall move:

That the amendments to Defence Determinations as contained in Determinations Nos 93 and 94 of 1986 and made under section 58B of the Defence Act 1903 be disallowed.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

Senator COONEY —These determinations provide for certain allowances for members of the Defence Force. They were made in November 1986 and they operate retrospectively to January 1984. The Committee looks carefully at any instrument of delegated legislation which is made to operate retrospectively beyond a few months. However, it takes a very serious view of retro- spectivity in the payment of money if it extends beyond two years. Such retrospectivity deprives the Parliament of the opportunity to consider and approve expenditure at the time and in the circumstances to which it applies. The Committee would require quite exceptional circum- stances to be established to justify such retrospectivity. This approach has been adhered to by the Committee since guidelines on retro- spectivity were included in its twenty-fifth report in 1968. Delegated legislation has seldom infringed these guidelines.

The Committee is corresponding with the Minister for Defence to determine the nature of the exceptional circumstances which have given rise to the retrospectivity in the present cases. I give this protective notice to ensure that the Minister and the Committee have adequate time to examine the matter without prejudice to the Committee's scrutiny.