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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . -There is more government by regulation here.

Senator Vardon - We could not set out the details of the examinations in the Bill.

Senator STEWART - I am not so sure that we could not. We are giving a great deal of power to Ministers, and I do not believe in government by regulation. I think we should have something more definite than is contained in this clause.

Senator Pearce - Would the honorable senator have the places at which the examinations are to be held inserted in the clause ?

Senator STEWART - No.

Senator Pearce - Then what is the honorable senator growling about?

Senator STEWART - Is that parliamentary? I was not aware that I was growling. The Minister's colleague compared me the other day to a flea, a fly, and a bee, and now the honorable senator is comparing me to a bear. Between them they will shortly have exhausted the animal and insect creation. We know very well how and by whom regulations are framed. We know that Ministers are largely in the hands of the permanent heads of their Departments. In such cases as this, these men are saturated with professionalism, and raise all kinds of artificial barriers -against any one encroaching upon their preserves. It should be remembered that regulations made under Acts of Parliament are being so continually altered that I defy any man to keep in touch with the regulations issued weekly, and almost daily, from every one of the Government Departments. Acts of Parliament are altered in this way and in that by means of regulations until it is impossible, I believe, for the departmental officers themselves to know just what the law is at any given period. While I agree that it is not possible to dp away entirely with regulations, they should be reduced to a minimum. We are here given an Act of Parliament in skeleton, and we are asked to cover it by means of regulations. I do not know what to suggest here. I have not given the matter very much consideration, but I find that clause after clause provides that such-and-such shall be done, as prescribed by regulation. There is too much of that sort of thing.

Senator de Largie - Let us have the honorable senator's amendment.

Senator STEWART - I am giving the honorable senator what I please. I am not paid for drafting Bills, and, if I were, there would be more Act of Parliament and less regulation. If the Committee is satisfied with government by regulation, that is its business. I believe in government by legislation, not by regulation.

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