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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2762

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - I think that in regard to both proposed new clauses 1 7s and 1 7t there is a question which is fairly important. I will state it so that the Attorney-General will know what I am getting at. Proposed clause 1 7s appears to provide that officers of the Court shall have such duties, powers and functions as are provided by this Act and the regulations, and such other duties and functions as the Chief Judge directs. When one turns to proposed clause 1 7t one finds that the practice and procedure of the court shall be in accordance with the regulations. This is another novel step inconsistent with the practice of courts and, 1 would have thought, inconsistent with the proper functioning of a Family Court. The judges of courts always have had the power to make their own rules of procedure. I do not know whether there is an intent or a purpose which the Attorney-General seeks to serve by having the practice of the Court fixed by the Executive or whether there is an oversight. I certainly feel that the rules of the Court and the practice of the Court should be fixed by the judges. These things are subject to oversight by Parliament, as they should be, but I believe it is not for the Executive to intrude into the functioning of any court. This is implicit in giving the Executive the regulation making power.

Senator Murphy - Is not the honourable senator referring to proposed new clause 1 7t?

Senator GREENWOOD - I am referring to 1 7s and 1 7t. If it is a matter of getting particular proposed sections out of the way I suggest to the Attorney-General that we agree because I personally have no questions up to proposed new clause 1 7r.

The CHAIRMAN - The Attorney-General may, by leave, deal with proposed new clause 1 7h to 1 7r if that is his wish.

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