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Thursday, 24 September 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - As I stated previously, the act of 1904 provided that regulations shall come into force from either the date of notification or a later date. ' Section 10 which so provided contains the words " unless the contrary intention appears ". If my amendment be carried, I shall have no objection to the inclusion of those words in this bill. I do not seek to rob the Government of any power in that respect which it nowhas.

Proposed new section 48 is one of the key provisions of this bill. There has always been power to give regulations retrospective operation, if the governing act provides for that, and to that I have no objection; but I do object to a government department promulgating a regulation with retrospective effect when the act does not authorize it to do so. The Minister referred to the hardship which would have been caused to men who were due to receive some money in England had they been prevented from getting it; but I remind him that those men got their money. It is true that it was not paid in accordance with the law; but still it was paid to them. In order to validate that payment a regulation which had retrospective effect for nine years was framed. I maintain that that is not a sound way to do things. There may be some other means by which the Treasurer could meet such a situation. There is always the alternative of passing legislation to make such payments regular. In my opinion, there is no justification for the intended action of the Government beyond the argument that it would enable small sums to be paid to persons from whom they have been incorrectly withheld.

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