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Friday, 8 May 1970

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Leader of the Opposition) - I am not in the least mortified in accepting this amendment from another place. I was, of course, in the unusual situation 3 weeks ago of having one of the amendments I moved in this place actually accepted. I am now in the unique situation of having had an amendment which was accepted, in itself amended in another place. I want all honourable members to know in both places that I accept this amendment to my amendment with the utmost grace. The principle for which I fought and to which I persuaded the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) has been preserved and - it may be - enhanced. I concluded my speech on the Parliamentary Counsel Bill by saying that the drafting was naturally impeccable. I would concede that it is still impeccable even if not so succinct.

I have one further comment to add. In my speech 3 weeks ago I said:

I draw the Minister's attention to the fact that courses in legislative drafting are offered in many law schools in the United States. To my knowledge no such course is available either at postgraduate or undergraduate level at any Australian law school. I trust the Minister will consider the possibility of a Commonwealth initiative to encourage the establishment of such courses.

I have since received a letter from Mr Pearce, a former member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Draftsman's staff, who is now a senior lecturer in law in the School of General Studies within the Australian National University. He points out to me that he gives a course that includes the teaching of the basic principles of drafting. He has been good enough to send me an outline of the course. It is an optional subject that may be taken by third or fourth year students. The enrolment this year is 21 out of an eligible field of about 30. I thank Mr Pearce for his countesy of informing me of a course at the Australian National University which was not available when my son was a student there 2 or 3 years ago. It is an admirable initiative on the part of Mr Pearce and the Faculty of Law. I hope other law schools in Australia do likewise. The more that do it the more not only the courts but the legislatures will be able to perform their essential functions in the making and the clarification of the law and making it intelligible and accessible.




Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported; report adopted.

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