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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2764

Senator EVERETT (Tasmania) -As far as Senator Greenwood 's amendment is concerned, I am at a loss to understand what has happened compared with the situation which existed in the 1959 Matrimonial Causes Act. Reference has been made to the Act briefly before but I think that the section ought to be read in full. Section 127 of the existing Act states: ( 1.) The Governor-General may make rules, not inconsistent with this Act, for or in relation to the practice and procedure of the courts having jurisdiction under this Act . . .

I am not aware that any complaint was ever made over 15 years in relation to the rules under section 127. Indeed, without checking one imagines that Senator Greenwood when he was Attorney-General was the author, no doubt on advice, of documents signed by the GovernorGeneral which prescribes rules under the very power which he now says ought not to reside in the executive.

Senator Greenwood - I well remember one occasion.

Senator EVERETT -Yes. I am at a loss to understand what has happened since 1959 in relation to this matter. Secondly, in respect of leaving this to judges, I well remember the trouble that was caused by some judges, admittedly at Supreme Court level, in early 1973 when the Attorney-General had taken certain steps by regulations in relation to costs and other matters and a struggle emerged in one State as to whether certain proceedings were to take place in private chambers or in public chambers. The absurd position prevailed where some judges interpreted their powers as authorising proceedings in private chambers and some took the other view and held them in public chambers. That happened and this is a clear-cut provision whereby these matters have the force of regulation and where they are so germane to be actual legislation, as many of them are, what is wrong with following the precedent of the previous Liberal-Country Party Government and leaving this to the Executive.

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