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Wednesday, 25 August 1937

Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I feel thatI should say something by way of answer to the remarks of Senator Abbott because, being a member of the legal profession, his views might carry more weight with lay members of the Senate than if he were a layman himself.He has sought to show an analogy between the advice of a lawyer as to the correctness of a. title to property and. the certificate which would be required of the Solicitor-General if the amendment were carried. If the analogy is perfect, I merely say that it operates against the honorable senator. Before a man lends money against property he sees that the title is correct, and realizing the folly of a layman attempting to be his own lawyer, he seeks the advice of a member of the legal profession. What will happen with respect to ordinances or regulations? Is it assumed that always they are drawn by laymen? Surely Senator Abbott knows that all regulations or ordinances having far-reaching effect, or which are technical in construction, are drawn by experienced legal officers in the AttorneyGeneral's Department. It is true, of course, that a considerable number of regulations merely alter dates or determine other trifling matters, and it would be farcical to require that they he reviewed by a legal authority in order to test their validity; but it is true to say that all ordinances of a far-reaching nature which involve legal questions are drawn by one duly qualified, and indeed, an expert lawyer,and are reviewed by a higher legal authority. Senator DuncanHughes's amendment will not carry the matter any further than it stands to-day. As to the suggestion that in this matter the Senate should insist on having its way, I repeat that Iam an upholder of the rights of the Senate, but I do not forget that this is a bicameralParliament. Therefore the Senate has no right to insist that its decision must prevail in respect of matters in dispute, as in this instance. The views put forward in the House of Representatives also should be respected.

SenatorMARWICK (Western Australia) [5.12]. - The amendment is really a test between the authority of the Executive and the Parliament. I hope that in the division the majority of honorable senators will be on the side of the Parliament. We have considered this matter on two previous occasions'. The Minister (Senator Brennan), in his second-reading speech, implied that the amendment which was objected to by the House of Representatives had been " tabled." He might have said that it had been adopted on two occasions by the Senate. I sincerely trust that it will pass again. Recently an ordinance was published in the Commonwealth Gazette, and within a few days, strong objection having been taken to it, an amended ordinance was issued. We have had the assurance of the Minister that infuture all ordinances will hestrictly scrutinized by the AttorneyGeneral's Department. The amendment merely proposes that specific provision to that effect shall be included in the bill. I hope that it will be carried.

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