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Tuesday, 29 November 1938

Mr BAKER (Griffith) . - I support the views expressed by the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Nairn) concerning the necessity to introduce amending bankruptcy legislation. During the Bruce-Page regime the bankruptcy law was consolidated in a measure which was passed through Parliament at the end of a session practically without discussion, because Mr. Bruce promised that a committee would deal with the whole subject immediately. A committee, of which I was a member, was appointed and made numerous recommendations, which, it was understood, were accepted. These recommendations were referred back to the committee, which made further recommendations, but so far nothing has been done, apart from amending certain sections in the act passed somewhat hurriedly several years ago. A few months ago the members of the committee who still remain - two are now deceased - were requested to act again on the committee. I promised the then Acting Attorney - General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) that I would be willing to act, but I have heard nothing further on the subject. Will the Attorney-General give the matter his attention?

Under the Acts Interpretation Act, as amended in 1937, regulations must be laid before each House of the Parliament within fifteen sitting days of that House after the making of the regulations, and notice of motion to disallow must be given within fifteen days of the tabling of a resolution. The object of the amendment was to ensure that new regulations should not remain in force indefinitely without parliamentary sanction. Unfortunately no such provision was made in respect of ordinances. When the amending bill was before the House last year, I directed attention to this fact, and I understood the Attorney-General to say that "the law would be amended to make some similar provision in respect of ordinances. It is, in my opinion, even more important that ordinances should be subject to parliamentary review within a specified period, than that regulations should be so considered, for Commonwealth territories, notably the Australian Capital Territory, are governed by ordinances and the people resident within such areas have no parliamentary representation. I, therefore, ask the Attorney-General to give immediate attention to this important matter.

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