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Thursday, 17 September 1936

Senator McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - At any rate, the odds would be limited a bit.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - 'A regulations are drafted by lawyers, there is a greater chance that they will bc correct than if they are drafted "by laymen. If I had to . counsel Senator Collings, or any other honorable senator, I should advise him not .to draw his own will, because if he does so he is much more likely to fail' in his intentions, however definite they may be, than he would be if he had the will drawn by a legal practitioner who has been trained to do the work. I should also advise that if one. wanted a tooth drawn one would be bettor advised to go to a properly trained dentist than to. attempt to do the job oneself.

We have listened to a discussion of the the wording of laws as distinct from their intention. From the point of view of law, words are given to us for the purpose of expressing intentions". The Ministry itself contains several men of high legal calibre, and it is supported by a number of men who should be fully qualified to express the intentions' of Parliament. In drafting bills or regulations, the Government has every advantage and opportunity to set down what it desires or intends. It has the responsibility to see that the words used legally represent its intention. If it fails to do so, any member of the community who goes into the court and shows that the words used have a certain meaning which was not the intention when the law was made, is within his rights. To suggest that in so doing he is guilty of double-dealing or impropriety is ludicrous. The words of the statute have to be taken as they stand, and if they are not the words which should have been used, it is the fault of Parliament, and not the fault of the man who challenges them in the courts. It is right that this should be so. I cannot see that any honorable senator can possibly, have any objection to my proposed amendment. The only effect of it is to ensure that instead of regulations being carelessly turned out, as if by a machine, every single one of them before receiving the signature of Ministers shall be accompanied by a certificate that in the opinion of the legal officer they are correctly drafted and not ultra vires.

Progress reported.

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