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Friday, 30 September 1910
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Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - I would remind the Committee that it is desirable to frame our measures on uniform lines. Various methods have been adopted in the States withregard to fees. In some States the fees payable under an Act have been set forth in a schedule. That has been done apparently in New Zealand, but that has not been the practice with the

Commonwealth Parliament. In our Acts all fees have been left to be prescribed by regulation. The regulations are laid upon the table of each House, and it is open to any honorable senator to submit a motion disagreeing with them. Obviously it is not wise to start a new departure in the case of this Bill unless very strong reasons can be given. There are very good reasons why the manning scale should be scheduled to the Bill. It involves a principle, and therefore it should not be subject to alteration by regulation from time to time. In some States the fee payable under the Navigation Act is comparatively small. I am informed that in Victoria it is 3s., of which the owner pays 2s., and the seaman1s, and that in some States it is 6s. The fees vary. I am not prepared at present to say what fee the Government will be prepared to prescribe. We have first to" ascertain what the maintenance of the Mercantile Marine Office is likely to cost. We desire to do justice as between the States, and, as I said, the fees vary considerably. This is entirely a question of draftsmanship. But the amendment will make quite a revolution in that regard.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - I do not think that it would be a serious revolution.

Senator PEARCE - Suppose that the amendment were made, and it were decided at some time to increase or to reduce the fees or to alter the proportion payable by the parties, it would be necessary to bring in a Bill for that purpose.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - On the other hand, either House may disagree with a regulation when it is tabled.

Senator PEARCE - That is so. This is a very simple matter, and as the clause has been drafted in accordance with our practice in framing legislation, I trust that the Committee will not agree to the amendment merely for the sake of making an alteration.

Senator Chataway - The object is to avoid government by regulation.

Senator PEARCE - The only argument which has been advanced in favour of the amendment is that it follows the practice in New Zealand. But certainly that has not been the practice in the Commonwealth.

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