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Wednesday, 25 September 1974
Page: 1394

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesAttorneyGeneral) - I do not want to delay the Committee. We cannot say that the proposal is an unreasonable one but on the other hand I can say that what we are proposing within the Bill is reasonable. The principle is stated in the Bill. We have made provision for an extension of the principle where necessary by regulation. That regulation would be subject to disallowance by the Parliament. There is also provision for supervising regulations. If I may, I will say something which may dissuade some of those who advocate the Opposition's proposal. The regulation will not become necessary unless there is some change in the existing position. So there cannot be any fears about the use of the regulation because it is designed only to correct a departure from the principle with which we all agree. If adequate provision is not made it must be conceded that someone may, through inadvertence or by some change in attitude to these things, depart from the principle that we are accepting and by some kind of ordinance in a territory take away the right of public servants or those in the defence forces to stand for election and to be reinstated if they are unsuccessful. If this provision is taken out of the legislation it will mean there will be the possibility of departure from the principle. If it is left in, the only use it will have is to prevent a departure from the principle. On balance it seems to me that it is preferable to leave it in. We are talking about a completely hypothetical situation. No one is envisaging that this situation will arise. No one on this side of the chamber is going to lose any sleep, whatever happens. But we do think that on balance there is a slightly more persuasive argument in favour of leaving the provision in the Bill.

Question put:

That the amendments (Senator Greenwood's) be agreed to.

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