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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 1948

Senator WOOD (Queensland) -I am entering into the debate not to discuss the pros and cons of this clause but because of some statements made by Senator Hall in regard to the regulation making aspect of which he spoke in regard to his amendment. The impression could be gained from what he said that the very fact that regulations are made and come under the supervision of the Parliament is a safeguard. I want to make it clear that although regulations come to each parliamentarian, and understanding of them depends upon what scrutiny each parliamentarian gives to those regulations. Some honourable senators probably think that the Regulations and Ordinances Committee surveys all regulations, but it does not. It surveys the regulations that relate to certain aspects, such as the rights and liberties of people, whether the subject of legislation or otherwise. But where it is a matter of policy, as is this legislation, in my opinion such matters would not come within the scope of the Committee's survey. It would therefore depend upon the individual parliamentarian to make his decision about whether he should move for the disallowance or otherwise of regulations.

For the parliamentarian to make a thorough survey of regulations a great deal of work would be required. A section of the regulations can slip through without parliamentarians realising the true impact of it. In order to make a proper survey we need to know the Act of Parliament, how it works and so on, and even if we are vigilant and know the Act there is still the question whether the matter which an honourable senator brings forward will find acceptance in the minds of other parliamentarians. They may take a different view of it. To show the need to have these regulations studied in conjunction with the Acts of Parliament, I point out that the Senate Regulations and Ordinances Committee has seconded to it a legal person who scrutinises regulations, makes a survey of them and reports back to the Committee. I understand that to make a survey takes quite a lot of work. I want to impress upon honourable senators that they should not be carried away by the fact that regulation making requirements are in a piece of legislation because where a survey and scrutiny of the regulations are required to be made by the individual parliamentarian it is a big job and regulations can easily slip through without his knowing its true consequences. Therefore we should treat this not as a simple matter but as one requiring very deep thought.

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