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Thursday, 3 December 1936

Senator McLEAY (South . Australia) . - The leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), it is interesting to note, has great faith in the opinions expressed by two lawyers in another place. It is because we have faith in legal men who are experts that we want to ensure that regulations, which form an important part of the law of this land, are finally drafted by experts.

Senator Collings - The honorable senator has faith only in experts whom he favours.

Senator McLEAY - The AttorneyGeneral's department surely is expert enough for anyone. I have no faith in the opinions of the Leader of the Opposition in this matter. We did consider this new section very carefully and, having the words of section 51 of the Constitution " to make laws for the peace, order and good government " in our minds and, realizing that it is essential in these modern times to have government by regulations, we decided to insert it. Regulations are produced not in hundreds but in thousands, and we consider that it is just as important for them to have the seal of approval from legal men as it is for the acts under which they are framed to be drafted by legal draftsmen.

Senator Sir George Pearce - The honorable senator has the assurance of the Government that the regulations shall be submitted to legal experts.

Senator McLEAY - If we have that assurance what is the purpose of this argument ?

Senator Sir George Pearce - The objection of the Government is to the requirement that regulations shall be accompanied by a certificate.

Senator McLEAY - We desire that regulations shall be certified as having been correctly drafted.

Senator Sir George Pearce - Surely the honorable senator is not prepared to risk the loss of the bill for that reason?

Senator McLEAY - Cabinet Ministers are not experts in the law. We should not go to a Cabinet Minister to have performed an operation for the removal of an appendix, and we are just as averse to obtaining legal opinion from laymen who happen to be in the Ministry. We wantto be satisfied that when a bill or a regulation goes through this chamber it is legally as near to perfection as it can reasonably be. We can only assure ourselves as laymen on that point if we are satisfied that it has passed through the Attorney-General's department or the Solicitor-General's department. I suggest with all respect to the legal men in the House of Representatives that this new section is in the interests of good government, and I trust that the Senate will stand by its previous decision.

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