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Tuesday, 18 May 1965

Senator GORTON (Victoria) (Minister for Works) . - I wish to refer to one or two matters raised by Senator Wright. I suppose that in one sense fixing costs by regulation could be described as a ministerial fixation of costs. Yet that is an exceedingly misleading description of what is, in fact, proposed. Whatever is to be done will be done by regulation, which is quite distinct from a ministerial action in writing. It is to be done by an instrument Which, as we have heard quite frequently from Senator Murphy and Senator Wright and others, is under the control of the Parliament before which such regulations must be laid. If the Parliament disapproves, they become inoperative. So they are subject completely to parliamentary discretion. Furthermore, it is not proposed to fix costs. It is proposed, as will be seen when the regulations are promulgated, to provide that in some cases there will be no costs. If, for instance, the Commission has not been approached within the time in which it should have been approached according to the Act, costs will not be allowed.

It is proposed that the Court may indicate that Queen's Counsel should not be employed, so that costs of the action may be kept down, unless, as I understand it, the court believes that the appearance of Queen's Counsel is justified. This can hardly be described fairly as a real fixation of costs, nor as a ministerial decision.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 9 (Imposition and recovery of penalties.)

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