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Monday, 19 September 1994
Page: 888


Senator COLSTON —On behalf of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances I give notice that, 15 sitting days after today, I shall move that the following delegated legislation be disallowed:

1.Determination HIT 5/1994, Items as Prostheses and Benefits for the Basic Health Insurance Table, made under s.4(1) of the National Health Act 1953

2.Training Guarantee (Administration) Regulations (Amendment), as contained in Statutory Rules 1994 No 176, and made under the Training Guarantee (Administration) Act 1990

3.Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations (Amendment), as contained in Statutory Rules 1994 No 189, and made under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993

4.Child Support (Registration and Collection) Regulations (Amendment), as contained in Statutory Rules 1994 No 197, and made under the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988

5.Classification of Publications (Amendment) Ordinance, ACT Ordinance No 5 of 1994, made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910

I seek leave to make a short statement about the committee's concerns with this legislation.

  Leave granted.


Senator COLSTON —I thank the Senate. The committee's concerns with these instruments include possible prejudicial retrospectivity, invalid subdelegation and lack of safeguards for personal rights. As usual, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a short summary of the matters raised by the committee.

  Leave granted.

  The summary read as follows

Determination HIT 5/1994, Items as Prostheses and Benefits for the Basic Health Insurance Table, made under s.4(1) of the National Health Act 1953

The Determination makes changes to prosthetic items and benefits on the existing basic health insurance table.

The Explanatory Statement advises that parts of the determination are made retrospective to 30 March 1994 because, if this was not done, patients who have received benefits for items listed and patients who have undergone procedures where new prosthetic items were not listed, would be financially disadvantaged. The Committee has written to the Minister seeking advice on the apparently prejudicial retrospective effect on hospitals and day hospital facilities.

Training Guarantee (Administration) Regulations (Amendment)

Statutory Rules 1994 No 176

The Regulations exclude wages and salaries paid for work in Area A of the Australia-Indonesia Zone of Cooperation from the training guarantee scheme.

The Amendment operates retrospectively for almost four years, to 1 July 1990. The Committee has written to the Minister seeking advice on the reasons for the long retrospectivity, whether the Commonwealth will now have to repay any moneys and, if so, what sums are involved.

Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations (Amendment) Statutory Rules 1994 No 189

Among other things, the Regulations prescribe types of benefits which will be taken to be annuities and pensions.

The Regulations provide in clause 1 of Schedule 1B for an apparent subdelegation of legislative power to the Commissioner. As such, this appears to be invalid. The Committee has written to the Minister seeking advice on validity and whether there is provision for the written arrangements to be tabled in Parliament and to be subject to possible disallowance.

Child Support (Registration and Collection) Regulations (Amendment) Statutory Rules 1994 No 197

Among other things, the Regulations provide for evidentiary certificates and for evidence to be given by affidavit.

The Committee has written to the Minister seeking advice on an apparent lack of safeguard provisions, which appears to breach the rights of those affected by the evidentiary certificates. Such provisions have been included in numbers of similar regulations which provide for the use of such certificates.

Classification of Publications (Amendment) Ordinance ACT Ordinance No 5 of 1994

Among other things, the Ordinance retrospectively provides for the imposition and collection of fees.

Section 28AB of the principal Ordinance is amended to impose a nine years retrospective liability to pay fees, with any such payments made since that date taken to discharge that liability. The Explanatory Statement gives the background and reasons for the amendments. The retrospectivity appears to be valid under the parent Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1990. The Committee has written to the Minister, however, seeking advice on the legislative and administrative considerations which dictated the retrospective liability and the apparent simultaneous discharge of that liability. In particular, the Committee has asked whether, in the absence of this retrospectivity, any fees paid between 1 April 1985 and 22 June 1994 would have to be refunded, and if so, what amounts are involved.