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Thursday, 24 September 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - I do not regret that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) should have addressed himself to this amendment before I had an opportunity to say that, with the permission of the Senate, I wish to withdraw my amendment in its present form, and to substitute for it another which has been drafted by the officers of the Solicitor-General's Department. In reply to Senator Collings, I may say that no objection was taken by the SolicitorGeneral's Department to the purpose of this amendment. In order to make that clear, I shall read the following letter addressed by the Clerk of Committees to the chairman of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee: -

With reference to your remarks in the Senate on 17th September, in committee on the Acts Interpretation Bill (Hansard, page 212), I am authorized by the Solicitor-General to say that your statement to the effect that " sometimes regulations are made and put into operation without having been first perused by any legal practitioner " was quite correct.

Mr. Knowlestells me, for the information of the committee, that " more than half " of the regulations which are made go through his department; but there are many simple changes, such as the alteration of rates of charge, or the designation of positions, about which there could not be any legal question, which have been made without the AttorneyGeneral's Department being consulted. Steps are being taken, however, to arrange for all regulations to be seen by an officer of the Attorney-General's Department before they are made, in future.

To any one who desires to know the facts, that letter demonstrates clearly the soundnessof the case that I presented. I am not impeaching the Attorney-General's Department. What I said was that there are in force many regulations which were not scrutinized by the Attorney-General's Department, and had no legal drafting whatever before being given the force of law. I said that, in my opinion, that was unsound and should be altered. The letter shows that what I said was correct. With the permission of the committee, I shall withdraw the amendment in the form in which it was presented, and substitute another which has been drafted by the departmental officers.

Amendment - by leave - withdrawn.

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