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Thursday, 14 November 1935

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - I rise to oppose the motion for the disallowance of these regulations. After the full and exhaustive speech of the Minister, there does not appear to be a great deal left to say. My rising to oppose the motion disproves the old saying that " Great minds always run in the same groove ", because Senator McLeay and I? who, in this chamber, both represent South Australia, do not soo eye to eye on this matter. My re marks will be confined principally to South Australia - the State which is the principal producer of dried fruits, and the one in which the agitation for the disallowance of the regulations is most pronounced. Senator McLeay quoted a number of authorities in regard to government by regulation, among them being Lord Hewart, Professor Kenneth Hamilton Bailey, Sir John Peden, and the present Attorney-General of the Commonwealth (Mr. Menzies). The honorable senator quoted Mr. Menzies as having said that no legislative change should find expression in a regulation. I agree with that view, for should a regulation be inconsistent with the legislation under which it is promulgated, there is always the risk of its being upset by a verdict of the court. Regulations are formulated for the administration of legislation, and must be consistent with that legislation. The regulations which Senator McLeay asks the Senate to disallow have been subjected to the scrutiny of the High Court, which has ruled that they are in conformity with the act. In his sum.muning up, Acting Chief Justice Rich said -

Tlie objection that thu conditions transfer to the board a power of prescribing what the exporter must do exerciseable only by the Governor-General as the regulation-making authority is, in my opinion, made untenable by the very nature of the power which results from sections 13, 14 and 29.

The motion before the Chair really asks the Senate to upset regulations which the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court has said are in accordance with the act under which they., were made. The Minister pointed out that only two good reasons exist for disallowing a regulation - either that it is not in conformity with the act, or that it is objectionable to the people working under it. I take it that Senator McLeay has attacked these regulations on the ground that they are objectionable to some of those who work under them. I disagree with the honorable senator that there is anything objectionable in the regulations. In my opinion, they have been framed, not to hinder, but to assist the industry. Senator McLeay seemed to go out of his way to say that: the regulations were framed for the benefit of the Australian Dried Fruits Association, and that that body has a dominat- ing influence in moulding legislation dealing with dried fruits. The Australian Dried Fruits Association certainly dominates the dried fruits industry; but when the regulations were framed the association was not consulted in any way. lt is an independent body formed voluntarily in the interests of the industry. The dried fruits industry is controlled by a board of eight members, five of whom are elected by the growers, the remaining three being appointed by the Government. Naturally, the stronger force among tho growers obtains a preponderance of representation on the board. In this case, the stronger force was the Australian Dried Fruits Association. Had the independent growers been the dominant force, they would have had greater representation on the board.

The outstanding features of Senator McLeay's speech were, first, the number of independent growers; secondly, the consideration due to them because of their numbers; thirdly, their production of dried fruits; and, fourthly, the prices obtained by them for their products. He set down the number of independent growers in South Australia at 1,500. I am not in a position to contradict his figures, hut I cannot understand them, seeing that there are only 2,260 growers of dried fruits in that State.

Senator Gibson - On those figures, the independent growers arĀ© in the majority.

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