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Thursday, 12 May 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) (4:52 AM) . - This is entirely a question of draftsmanship. Is the Committee to be guided by Senator Elliott, who apparently thought out several of his suggestions while he was on his feet, or by the Crown Lav? authorities? The Bill has been carefully drafted by the Commonwealth draftsman and submitted to the Crown Solicitor. It is a complete whole. I could understand members not agreeing . with some of the principles of the Bill, but in the matter of draftsmanship we must give the benefit of the doubt to those who have had the preparation of the Bill as a whole, and have had before them the Acts Interpretation Act and other measures. Some of the amendments Senator Elliott has circulated show that he has not read the Acts Interpretation Act.

Senator Elliott - Does it define the Air Board?

Senator PEARCE - No ; but we shall make a hash of the Bill if we start putting on patches here and there, and try to think out alterations while standing on our feet.

Senator Elliott - My amendments have been before the Minister for weeks.

Senator PEARCE - The draftsmen assure me that they are not required. I can see no virtue in repeating, in the definition clause, the same words as appear in clause 9, after merely turning them round. Some of Senator Elliott's proposals seem to be put forward for the mere purpose of making alterations.

Senator Elliott - What about the Military Board?

Senator PEARCE - The Crown Law people think a definition is unnecessary. The only definition suggested by the honorable senator to which they see no objection is that of " Member," and this I am prepared to accept. I do not want to make a botch of the Bill by accepting amendments which have not been looked at in connexion with the whole scheme of the Bill. Senator Elliott has not had the time that the draftsman has had to look at the Bill in relation to all other Commonwealth legislation affected by it.

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