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Wednesday, 16 November 1927

Motion FOR Disallowance.

Senator ELLIOTT(Victoria) [5.27J.- I move -

That Statutory Rule, No. 109, of 1927- Regulations under Defence Act 1303-1927 - be disallowed.

There .are two reasons why the Senate should disallow these regulations. First, they introduce a new principle into eur defence legislation. Section 124 of the Defence Act 1903, which provides for the making of regulations, deals ' exclusively with matters of military training, such as the regulation and good government of the military college; the enrolment of persons liable to serve in the Citizen Forces in time of war, and the fixing of the rates of pay of members of the

Defence Force. In March last that act was amended to provide for -

The regulation, control, or prohobition, of the construction of buildings or other erections within areas proclaimed by the GovernorGeneral to be areas in which such regulation, control, or prohibition is necessary for the defence of the Commonwealth.

When the amending legislation was before us, I thought that it would not apply in time of peace, although some such provision might be necessary in time of war. The Government, however, has issued these regulations under* it in a time of peace. Regulation 4 provides -

(1)   Any person who, without the consent in writing of the Minister (proof whereof shall be upon that person) constructs in any defence area specified in Table B of the schedule any building or erection of a greater maximum height than 50 feet, shall be guilty of an offence.

(2)   Any person who, without the consent in writing of the Minister ( proof whereof shall be upon that person), constructs in such parts as are specified in Table C of the schedule of defence areas specified in Table B of the schedule, any building of a greater maximum height than 15 feet," shall be guilty of an offence.

It may be said that with such a margin as that between 15 feet and 50 feet no hardship can be imposed on the owners of land ; but I am concerned with the principle underlying the regulation. If it is allowed to stand, the Governor-General will have the power to forbid the erection of any building within the area covered by the regulation and this without any obligation to pay the owner reasonable compensation. Regulation 9 (1) reads -

No person who is prevented by or under these Regulations from building in a defence area, shall have any action, claim or demand against the Commonwealth or any officer of the Commonwealth by reason of his being prevented from building.

When the amending legislation was before us earlier . in the year, no mention was made of any intention on the part of the Government to deprive of compensation a person who suffered injury because of the operations of its provisions. I can understand that in time of war it might be necessary to demolish a house; but even in those circumstances it has never previously been suggested that its owner should not be compensated. This regulation, however, would empower the Governor-Gene ral to destroy a man's property, or, at least, to interfere with his right to use it as he chooses, without any compensation being made.

Senator Andrew - Is no provision made for compensation?

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