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Wednesday, 16 March 1966

Mr SNEDDEN (BRUCE, VICTORIA) (Attorney-General) - That is a good question. I cannot give the answer. The reason I cannot give the answer is that the issue has not been resolved; in point of fact, it was for the purpose of avoiding resolution of that question that the States and the Commonwealth have come together to operate a joint scheme. The need for the joint scheme arises from the claim of the States that their power extends to three miles of territorial waters and beyond. The Commonwealth says: " No, that is wrong. Our power extends offshore." The purpose of the agreement is to do what is called " mirror " the legislation so that the same provisions operate by reason of State legislation as will operate by reason of Commonwealth legislation. It would therefore avail nobody anything to challenge the State legislation, for if the State legislation were held invalid the person concerned would still come within the ambit of the Commonwealth legislation, which is precisely the same and vice versa. The same principle would apply if the Commonwealth legislation were challenged. Therefore, it is known as " mirror " legislation. It is a co-operative system, and if our scheme proves successful we are unlikely ever to have a resolution of that question.

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