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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr BRENNAN (Batman) . - We have now reached the stage when we are free to vote, as I propose to vote, against the clause as amended. I am opposed to the attachment of the whole of the Defence Act to this Bill, and its acceptance, in globo, by this Committee. Personally, I would not accept the Defence Act 1903- 1918 if it were submitted to us in detail. There are many features of the Act to which I am strongly opposed. I am opposed also to the principle of legislation by reference. I know of no abuse which we have had to condemn so frequently, and with such good reason, as this principle of legislation by reference. Almost every measure that comes before us has to be considered by reference to some document, or Bill, or Act, which is not 'before us. In this case I am pretty safe in saying that I would not accept the Defence Act of 1903-1918, not because I am not acquainted with its provisions, but because I know too much about them. Without delaying the Committee I wish to say that I cannot accept the clause as amended. I accept the Minister's assurance, and his draftsmanship, as being sufficient to exclude the operation of any Imperial Act. That is satisfactory, so far as it goes. My present contention being that it does not go far enough, I intend to vote for the rejection of the clause, and I hope that honorable members associated with me on this side of the Committee will do the same.

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