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Friday, 25 May 1973
Page: 2696

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Clause 27, if one accepts the amendments which the Committee has carried to clause 17, at least gives effect to the balance of what we had been seeking and what was mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden). That is to say, in respect of particular local governing bodies and in respect of local governing bodies where there were special reasons for approving them as regional organisations, it requires the matter to be done by regulation and not otherwise. Therefore our amendment, which has been circulated and which I was proposing to move if this amendment was defeated, would not fit with the Bill as it presently stands as amended by this Committee. So in opening my remarks I would say that I will be opposing on behalf of the Opposition the new clause 27 moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), but if it is defeated I will be moving our clause 27 in a slightly amended form. The first part of our proposed clause would read: 27 (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 17, the Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with the Act. . . . '

This would cover the whole of the organisations and give effect to the point I was making earlier. I will not go over that ground again beyond saying this, because of certain remarks that were made by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren): The difficulty that was highlighted by the Leader of the Opposition when he made his remarks about the approval by instrument in writing of regional organisations involves a matter of principle. It is true that he particularly stressed the individual councils and the individual bodies. The Prime Minister referred to that. But quite clearly the principle he was stating involves the difficulty of having this entirely outside the scrutiny of the Parliament. This applies equally to the case where there is not only one council but also when the region has 2 councils. It is, in effect, a matter of ridiculousness in practical politics to say that if a region has 2 councils or even 3 councils the principle is different. Therefore, the whole spirit and substance of what the Leader of the Opposition was saying would require that this Parliament should have an opportunity for scrutiny, simply by requiring that it be laid down by regulation which regions are approved.

Therefore the Opposition will be opposing the amendment put forward by the Government. If it is carried we will go on to alter the Bill in respect of some consequential definitions. But if it is not carried the Opposition will be moving and pressing a form of regulation making which will embrace the approval of all regional organisations.

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