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Tuesday, 20 October 1903

Mr HIGGINS (Northern Melbourne) - I think this measure will prove very useful. At the same time, I scarcely see the necessity for it, except for the provision embodied in clause 3, that before rules are adopted forty days' notice shall be given in order that they may be subjected to public criticism. It is highly expedient that such facilities should be afforded. As to the rest of the Bill, I think that all that is aimed at might be accomplished by means of departmental machinery. I notice that clause 5 prescribes that in cases in which rules are required to be published in the Gazette, it will be sufficient to announce in that publication the fact that the rules have been made and that copies may be obtained at certain places. In such case the Gazette could not be used as evidence as to the rules. Speaking from considerable experience in these matters, I know that it is very convenient to be able to produce the Gazette, which is always at hand as evidence of rules. Although it would no doubt be very convenient to have bound copies for use in offices such copies would not be evidence. I should like to know whether sub-clause 3 of clause 5 is copied from the English Act t

Mr Deakin - Yes.

Mr HIGGINS - Then I apprehend that in Imperial legislation there must be some provision which renders the printers' copy of the rules evidence. I do not know whether there is any such provision in our Commonwealth law. Of course, if there is, to a large extent my objection will be met.

Mr Henry Willis - Is the Government Printer bound to keep a copy of the rules 1

Mr HIGGINS - All the rules must be printed by him.

Mr Henry Willis - But does he keep a copy of them t

Mr HIGGINS - I do not know ; I suppose he would. Whilst dealing with this matter I may mention that about four years ago a suggestion was made by the Victorian Law Commission, the adoption of which would prove of very great assistance to practitioners and the public. I think that all rules or orders which are made under Commonwealth legislation should be annually published in one volume.

Mr Deakin - That is intended.

Mr HIGGINS - Our Victorian rules are in a condition of " irremediable chaos."

One experiences the utmost trouble in finding them. I hold that every year there should be issued, in one volume, all the regulations and rules which are made under Acts of the Commonwealth. A person should be able to purchase these for an expenditure of ls. or 2s. I do not suggest that such a provision should be incorporated in an Act of Parliament ; but I ask the Prime Minister to make arrangements with the Government Printer whereby a volume of the character I have suggested shall be published annually.

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