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Tuesday, 2 May 1961


Mr KILLEN (Moreton) .- I am bound to say to the committee, and particularly to the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), that when I first saw this clause I thought it was an absolute shocker. I went to my friend, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson), who mastered in mathematics at Cambridge, and he was able to assure me that it was quite intelligible to him. But when I found that my friend, the honorable member for Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn), was a little bewildered by it - and he has some claim to be able to understand the intricacies of the quadratic equation - I was still disturbed.

Surely there is some way of getting around this problem without putting such formulae as this into legislation. Lord only knows, I frequently inveigh against forms of administrative legislation, but I would infinitely prefer regulations to be made under an act than to have this kind of mathematical mumbo-jumbo put into an act. Really and truly, this is quite pathetic. The bureaucrat, bless him - and I do not mean a blessing in any ecclesiastical sense - regards the Parliament as something of a rubber stamp, but here is the mathematician rampant and the Parliament couchant. From here on it is the mathematician who will make the decision with regard to these provisions.


Mr Harold Holt - Couchant, but not dormant or silent.


Mr KILLEN - Well, I have known some people in such a position who have complained. Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that if every member of this Parliament were to be set a problem based on the formula that we are now considering, I think it would be long odds on that the failure rate would be remarkably high. I hear many honorable members trying to suggest, by interjection, that I am wrong. Of course there are some people who find difficulty in fighting their modesty on questions like this. I know of one, two, or possibly three or four honorable members who may be able to solve problems that could be expected to arise under this legislation. In any case I would ask the Treasurer whether the administrative procedure which might be adopted under this section of the legislation has been considered. Would it not be preferable to achieve the result by regulation! I also ask, if I may do so without impertinence, whether the actuaries of the life offices were consulted in the preparation of these provisions. I have been informed that the intricacies of actuarial work are very great, and I would hate to have us put into an act something that would lead to endless disputation between the life offices and the Treasury.







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