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Thursday, 22 October 1931

Mr BAYLEY (Oxley) .- This matter might more properly have been raised on a question of privilege, because it is certainly an abuse of parliamentary privilege that the Government, which is the executive body, should take to itself powers which it was never intended to possess. Parliament is supreme, and yet its will has been thwarted in this regard. I shall support the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory), who pointed out that there is much difference between a government doing a thing by proclamation and doing it by regulation.. A regulation may be discussed in this House, and may be either agreed to or disagreed with ; but we have no opportunity of discussing the action of a government taken by means of a proclamation, unless a special motion for the adjournment of the House is submitted, or unless a specific motion of want of confidence in the Government is moved. What has a government to fear in providing for prohibitions by regulation? Does the Government fear to have the light of day made to shine upon its actions? Is it fearful that, in a discussion on the floor of the House, it would be shown that the gain derived from a prohibition was not sufficient to justify such extreme action? In placing the various tariff items before us, the Government has been forced, willynilly, to accept the opinion of this chamber in regard to each item, and I contend that the same practice should obtain in regard to those items which have been placed on the prohibited list. I do not intend to discuss that matter to-day. The honorable member tor Swan has raised the question whether Parliament is supreme, or whether it is willing to permit the Government to us-: the powers given under the original act in a manner never intended by Parliament. I hope that honorable members who have the dignity of this House at heart, and stand for the privileges belonging to members, will support the amendment of the honorable member.

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