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Thursday, 3 December 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - I think it appropriate at this stage to remind the Senate of what this proposed new section says. It reads -

48.   ( 1 ) Where an act confers power to make regulations, no regulation shall be made accordingly, unless the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General or some officer of the Attorney-General's department thereto authorized in writing by the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General, certifies that the regulation, if made, would not be in excess of the power conferred by the act under which it purports to be made.

Senator Sir George Pearce - He might be a junior draftsman.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - It would not be creditable to the department if it were to appoint a junior draftsman todo this work unless it were necessary to do so. The wording of the clause continues -

2.   Any regulation made in contravention of this section shall be void and of no effect.

Then there is a third proviso which was put in at the request of the Minister himself, which is quite desirable. As Senator McLeay has said, regulations are poured out in great numbers under the acts whose provisions they purport to carry out. It is obviously desirable that the general public should have some security that the regulations by which they are governed are in accordance with the powers of the acts that they seek to amplify. I could not help being amusedby the argument of the Leader of the Government, than whom no one knows better how to score a point.

Senator Sir George Pearce - I assure the honorable senator that I was not seeking to do that. I was trying to warn the Senate.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - I did not use the phrase in a critical sense. It was, in fact, intended as a compliment. However, I shall merely say that no one knows better than does the right honorable gentleman where and when to hit. Therefore, it seems strange to me that he should say that this is an unimportant provision in a very important measure, but that if it is carried the bill will be dropped.

Senator Sir George Pearce - Because of its danger.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - I suggest that there is no danger, either hidden or obvious, to justify the dropping of this new section.

Senator Sir George Pearce - Both the Attorney-General and the SolicitorGeneral say that it is extremely dangerous.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - If insistence on this section would be regarded by the Gvernment as so serious as to cause it to drop the bill, then all I have to say is that I have no such love for the bill as to be very much perturbed if it is dropped.

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