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Wednesday, 25 February 1942

Mr HOLT (Fawkner) .- I shall not oppose the motion, but I wish to support the remarks made by the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear). At no time in the history of Australia, not excepting the period of the last war, have regulations been issued - many of them properly issued - of greater consequence to the ordinary citizens, and in greater number, than at present. They are necessary in order to meet war conditions. Yet, by some extraordinary combination of circumstances, copies of them have not been forwarded to honorable members. This is the first time in my experience as a member of this Parliament that copies of regulations addressed to me at Parliament House have not been forwarded to my private address when Parliament has been in recess. Had it not been for my attendance at Canberra a couple of weeks ago in order to attend the meeting of the Opposition Executive, I should not have seen a copy of a single regulation issued since the end of last year, although in that time numerous regulations have been issued which vitally affect private rights and the liberty of the subject.

Mr.James. - It was not the fault of the Government that these were not forwarded. Inquiry should be made of the clerk whose duty it was to forward them.

Mr HOLT - It is not my function to ascertain who is to blame, but whoever is responsible should be dealt with. I am merely corroborating facts stated by an honorable member who supports the Government. On the broader issue of future meetings of the House, I understand that it is proposed that honorable members shall re-assemble for two or three days next week, and that Parliament shall then go into recess. The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) was asked specifically this afternoon whether, in view of the fact that a committee had been appointed to report upon a certain regulation, honorable members would be given an opportunity to discuss the issues involved. His reply was not altogether satisfactory. He did not indicate that time would be made available for such a discussion. The regulation referred to is only one of about a hundred which also have a more or less important bearing upon the everyday life of our fellow citizens. I trust, therefore, that an opportunity will he provided to discuss the particular regulation to which reference has been made, and also other regulations which are of little less importance to the people at large.

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