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Wednesday, 10 June 1970

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) - The Opposition is pleased that the Government is prepared to accept this amendment. The principle involved is a good one which should be followed consistently. It is most unwholesome in our system of parliamentary government to relinquish so much of our control of public affairs to administrative act. Had sub-clauses (1.) and (2.) of clause 8 been proclaimed in their present form the determination of remuneration, travelling expenses and so on would have been a matter of decision by regulation. This is a most unattractive trend which is occurring in parliamentary systems in many countries. It is the cause of a great deal of criticism and expressions of concern by people who are interested in parliamentary government and who are concerned to ensure that the system of parliamentary government works as much as it is possible to make it do so.

Many complaints have been made in this place about the way in which we handle our affairs. Frankly, I feel that we have a responsibility to be always acutely aware of the obligations we have and to ensure that we discharge them. It is our obligation to ensure that the remuneration of people who come within the provisions of clause 8 of this Bill is decided by this chamber. It should not be forfeited to some other body which perhaps tenuously, although 1 doubt this very much, has no answerability to this chamber. We ought to be making as many decisions as we can. otherwise the tendency is for decisions through regulations rapidly to proceed and become an established fact and be inflicted upon the person or the public, or both, for some time before it is discovered that there is an anomaly in the particular decisions made by regulation.

I am not suggesting that we are infallible. We have been known to make errors in this place, but given the opportunity to discuss these things openly and - this is more important - to have drawn to our attention by interested parties the problems that may arise from a particular aspect of legislation, we have the opportunity to act quickly where we have control over the legislation. I commendthe Government for accepting these amendments referred by the Senate. I hope that the Government will uphold the principle consistently henceforth.

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