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Friday, 6 March 1942

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - During the last two strenuous years, large numbers of regulations under the National Security Act have been issued, and it has come to tuy notice that in many distant localities people do not understand just what is being done. The difficulty is obvious. I realize that governments have to act suddenly at times, but such action leaves the public in a very uncertain state. I have heard conflicting views expressed, not only by individual citizens in the localities in which I move, but also by public men in responsible positions. Nobody seems to know just what he has to do, and what he has not to do. The air-raid precaution regulations are a good example. The general public is not aware of what is required <>f it, and guidance and advice should be given. I suggest to the Government that if one of the officers of the AttorneyGeneral's Department were associated with some one who had the journalistic touch and could make a precis of the various regulations for publication in the press throughout the Commonwealth, the position would be greatly improved. If necessary, the Government could compel the publication of such statements, or pay a remuneration for the space occupied, if that be considered necessary. Apart from a relatively small number of people in the capital cities, the people of Australia generally are unfamiliar with the laws under which they live. I have . spoken to one or two Cabinet Ministers in regard to this matter, and I am sure that they appreciate the difficulties. It is important at this stage that people should have a thorough, knowledge of matters which affect them closely, and that could bo done by the publication in the manner I have suggested of a précis couched in plain language and entirely free of the legal terms in which regulations must necessarily be framed.

Senator Collings - The honorable senator's remarks will be noted.

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