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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - It seems to me that this proposal goes a little beyond anything yet attempted either in this country or overseas. We object to the Minister usurping judicial functions. That is the meaning of this clause. That is a very dangerous thing for any Minister to attempt to do. When I first glanced at this clause, I thought that its purpose was to expedite hearings in order to enable the officer concerned to get away as quickly as possible, as, for instance, an officer from overseas would wish to do. But the clause makes no reference to that aspect at all. No corresponding provision exists in the principal act, and. apparently, no necessity exists for such a provision, because, apparently, the next part of clause 9 makes adequate provision for appeals against the suspension, or cancellation, of certificates. For that reason, I fail to see why we should throw this responsibility on the shoulders of the Minister.

Senator FRASER - This clause deals entirely with local certificates.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is so; and, consequently, the officer concerned will not require to get away as quickly as would be the case of officers from overseas. A new provision, which, replaces the relevant section of the principal act, gives to officers concerned complete right of appeal. That is much more desirable than this proposal, which virtually constitutes the Minister as a court of appeal. I suggest, therefore, that the first part of proposed new section 375a be withdrawn. The rest of that proposed new section appears to be satisfactory in respect of any officer who may be charged. He has his appellant rights to whatever tribunal is provided under the principal act; and that provision is made clearer in the amendment now proposed by the Minister in that respect. But the clause with which we are now dealing violates the best principles of British jurisprudence in that it imposes a judicial duty upon the executive government.

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