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Tuesday, 20 October 1903

Mr KINGSTON (South Australia) - I should like to explain to the honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne that, although "irremediable chaos" is a South Australian expression, it applies only to the conditions which sometimes obtain in a neighbouring State. Does the Prime Minister contend that this is an urgent measure 1

Mr Deakin - We are now at the close of the third year of the Commonwealth's existence.

Mr KINGSTON - Yes ; and it has not been shown that any necessity exists for the measure. It is presented for our consideration at the last moment-

Mr Deakin - At the present time we have eleven sets of regulations scattered throughout the Gazette.

Mr KINGSTON - Yes ; and they are very good ones, too. I think that by ordinary administration, all that this Bill aims at accomplishing could have been easily accomplished. I would point out to the Prime Minister that the measure contains no definition of the term "public body." Is there such a definition in the Acts Interpretation Act ?

Mr Conroy - There is not.

Mr KINGSTON - If we intend to confine the right of suggestion to public bodies, we shall require a definition of that phrase. At the same time I am not at all satisfied that we should limit that right to public bodies. It is proposed to publish these statutory rules for public information. Therefore, I say - " Let an3' one who chooses to do so send in any suggestions which he may desire to offer." It is quite possible that some of the suegestions may prove extremely valuable, even though they do not emanate from public bodies. In my judgment we should make the power of suggestion general. There is another provision here to which I desire to call the attention bf the honorable member for Melbourne. I know that he used to feel very strongly upon the propriety of some notice being given before any statutory rules could become operative - that he disliked provisions under which they could be brought into operation forthwith. Subclause 2 of clause 3 declares that these rules " shall come into operation forthwith or at such time as is prescribed." Under that provision power is given to bring rules into force at a later date than that upon which they are made by the rule-making authority, but power is also conferred to make them retrospective. I suggest that it would be better to make the clause read " either forthwith or at such later time as is prescribed in the rules." I confess that I am not impressed with the necessity which exists for the introduction of this measure. Certainly English legislation was recently enacted upon the subject, but I am satisfied that everything necessary could be accomplished by discreet administration. i

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