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Thursday, 22 October 1914


Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I am unable to indorse the views expressed by Senator Newlands, because I recognise that if there is any authority qualified to make the rules under which the insolvency law shall be administered if it is to work smoothly, it must be the Judiciary. Of course the term " GovernorGeneral," as used in the clause, means the Attorney-General, and I am not prepared to give him the power to make these rules when he will not be called to work under them.


Senator Mullan - He is responsible to the people, who will have to work under them.


Senator SENIOR - That is so; but I remind the honorable senator that this Parliament will retain the power to disallow any rules that are made.


Senator Guthrie - But we shall have to wait until they are made.


Senator SENIOR - We shall not have to wait too long, since they cannot come into operation until they are made.


Senator Guthrie - They may come into operation before Parliament deals with them.


Senator Keating - No; it is only such rules as those we are now receiving, and which are certified to be of urgency, that operate before Parliament has time to consider them.


Senator SENIOR - The authority to. whom Senator Keating would intrust the making of these rules will know better than does the Attorney-General what rules are necessary. I consider that there is force in Senator Keating's contention that at the present time the AttorneyGeneral's Department is constantly engaged in making rules which ' find their way into our pigeon-holes. It is because we have been so much accustomed to the continuous flow of these rules and regulations from the same source that they escape the notice of honorable senators and become operative before Parliament considers them.


Senator Mullan - The same thing would happen under the amendment.


Senator SENIOR - That is only an argument in support of the contention that the more there is expressed in an Act, and the less there is left to a regulation, the better it is in every case. These rules will deal with questions of procedure. There is, for instance, the summoning of meetings of creditors, and surely those who will have to deal with such meetings will know better than does the Attorney-General what the rules for dealing with them ought to be. The correct procedure in dealing with the proving of debts, and in connexion with fees and percentages, must be more familiar to the Judges than to any one else.


Senator Newlands - Let the honorable senator refer to the last provision - " prescribing all matters, forms, and conditions."


Senator Keating - There could be no better authority than the Judges to deal with that.


Senator SENIOR - I agree with Senator Keating that no one is more competent to frame rules relating to such matters than are those who have them brought constantly under their notice. Senator Newlands, with his special knowledge of locomotives, is better qualified than a carpenter would be to say what ought to be done with a locomotive.


Senator Mullan - The honorable senator does not claim that the officers of the Attorney-General's Department are incapable.


Senator SENIOR - No; but I claim that there is as great a distinction between the functions of the AttorneyGeneral's Department and those of the Judiciary as there is between those of an engineer and of a carpenter. There is also a wide distinction between legislative and judicial functions. It is one thing to enact the provisions of a law, and another to frame the rules best calculated to secure the smooth administration of that law. I have looked carefully through the provisions of this Bill, and as I believe that the amendment would be an improvement upon the measure, I am prepared to support it.







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