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Wednesday, 28 October 1914

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . I agree that the Minister of Defence has Li no degree exaggerated the importance, the urgency, or the value of this measure. There is only one clause on which I desire to comment. It will be observed that clause 4 invests the Executive, as it were, with legislative powers. That is quite right. In a state of war, we have to meet emergent conditions; circumstances arise which call for action on the part of theGovernment - action of a very speedy and decisive character - and it would be absurd if they had to wait for Parliament to pass the necessary legislation through both Houses to enable them to act. I am inclined to think that the regulations to be made under clause 4 will not stand on the same plane as the regulations made under an ordinary Act. Where we in a measure give the Governor-General power to make regulations for carrying the Acb into effect- regulations rather in the nature of rules subsidiary to the Act - under the Rules Publication Act the regulations have to be tabled in Parliament within a specified period after their gazettal, and thus an opportunity is given to either House to annul the rules. I do not know that that law will apply to the regulations made under clause 4 of this Bill. This is a measure which directly says that, instead of the Parliament legislating, the Governor-General may make regulations.

Senator Pearce - The provision in the Acts Interpretation Act or the Rules Publication Act applies to the regulations made under any Commonwealth Act, and it is the intention of the Government to lay the regulations made under clause 4 of this Bill on the table of either House of the Parliament.

Senator KEATING - I understand that, but will it be competent for either House to annul the regulations?

Senator Pearce - Certainly.

Senator KEATING - I was not aware that the regulations made under this Bill would come within the category of the regulations referred to in a section of the Rules Publication Act. I have not looked at the latter provision, but my impression was that the regulations referred to in that Act were such as are really in the nature of rules, and supplemental to an Act; but clause 4 of this Bill endows "the Governor-General," which means " the Executive," with power to legislate within the confines of paragraphs a, b, and c, irrespective of anything which is specially mentioned in the Bill.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - This Bill is incorporated with and is to be read as part of the Defence Act.

Senator KEATING - The regulations are really Statutes, or Ordinances, distinct and separate, deriving their authority from the Act, and, to some extent, they are independent ' of the Act. They are not part and parcel of the Act. They are not rules under the Act. They are not subsidiary or supplemental to the Act, although they derive their validity, force, and effect from the legislation contained in clause 4. I am not particularly asking that Parliament should be allowed to intervene in these matters. I am not quite certain that it will be obligatory, but, at any rate, it is the intention of the Government to follow the spirit of the Rules Publication Act with regard to the regulations made under this measure.

Senator Pearce - Yes.

Senator KEATING - The Minister has pointed out the urgency of the measure, and it is not my intention to delay the Senate. With the Minister, I entirely agree as to the urgency of the measure, and I earnestly hope that here it will receive the speediest possible passage commensurate with its importance.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee:

Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 (Regulations).

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