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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2603

Senator MURPHY (New South Wales) (Attorney-General and Minister for Customs and Excise) - This new clause 6a is welcomed by the Government. Mr Temporary Chairman, as Chairman of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee for so many years, you would be well aware of the important way in which a test such as that can help to see to it that the standards of our law are very greatly improved. The same words have been included in the platform of the Australian Labor Party so that our test of delegated legislation is one which requires conformity with those standards in relation to trespassing unduly on personal rights and liberties and so on. The suggestion in relation to the articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a very welcome one. It would be good to have those articles in the Bill and constantly before the minds of the commissioners in their review of the law. I thank Senator Greenwood for the suggestion.

May I suggest, with respect, that Senator Greenwood does not proceed with his amendment to clause 3 which contains the additional definition. The problem is that we have not yet ratified the Covenant, and the definition refers to the Covenant ratified by Australia. We think that that is unnecessary. It would be simple enough to leave clause 6a as it is. The definition is not really necessary even if we had ratified the Covenant. I hope we do, but it may be some little time before it is done, and until then there may be some problems. We think that from the drafting point of view it would be much better if we did not proceed with that amendment. But we positively welcome the addition of clause 6a.

Proposed new clause agreed to.

Senator Greenwood - I have received some suggestions from the draftsmen as to purely formal alterations to the amendments that have been moved. If the Committee agrees I would like to suggest that those alterations be adopted. They are concerned with small things such as the figures and letters (i) and (a) and they suggest that certain commas and other things be put in various places. I would have thought that these matters would be dealt with in the drafting procedure, but if leave is required to make these alterations then I would seek it.

Senator Murphy - I think this matter comes within the province of the President or the Clerk, does it not? That is my understanding of the situation under the Standing Orders.

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