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Tuesday, 20 October 1903

Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) - I think that honorable members should have been furnished with some explanation in addition to that which was given by the Prime Minister in support of this Bill. Certainly if its passage were a matter of urgency it should have been presented earlier. I confess that I was unable to obtain from the Prime Minister's speech a fair idea of the scope of this measure. It seems to me that there is no reason whatever why its provisions could not have been incorporated in the High Court Procedure Bill.

Mr Kingston - It is intended to apply to other matters.

Mr Deakin - It will apply to all rules ' and regulations which are made under any Act of the Commonwealth.

Mr MAHON - It will apply not merely to courts, but to the Inter-State Commission when it is appointed, and to Government Departments. Is a Government Department to make statutory rules 1

Mr Deakin - Only when empowered to do so by Act.

Mr MAHON - I think that the period of forty days, which is prescribed in sub-clause 2 of clause 3, will be found inadequate so far as the remote portions of the Commonwealth areconcerned.

Mr Deakin - It says at least forty days.

Mr MAHON - The Gazette is usually published upon Friday. There is no mail from Melbourne to Western Australia until the following Wednesday, so that nearly two weeks must elapse between the issue of that publication and its arrival at Perth. Almost the same length of time must be absorbed in obtaining a reply. The public should be allowed a longer period in which to consider rules the effect of which may be very important to them. These are merely the observations which occur to a layman upon reading the Bill for the first time. Legal members will be better able to say whether this measure is absolutely required at the present time ; but I trust that the Prime Minister will consent to so amend clause 3 as to extend the time within which objections to draft rules may be lodged.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee :

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 (Definitions).

Mr. KINGSTON(South Australia).- I take it that the Prime Minister will prefer to substitute the word " person " for the words "public authority," so that any person may obtain copies of the draft rules.

Mr Deakin - I have no objection to that proposal, and shall move the necessary amendment in clause 3.

Mr. HIGGINS(Northern Melbourne). - The honorable and learned member for Indi has called my attention to the question whether the word " regulations " used in this clause will include regulations made under this measure.

Mr Deakin - Surely.

Mr HIGGINS - The position will be rather awkward, because clause 6 provides that-

All such regulations shall be notified in the Gazette, and shall thereupon have the force of law.

That seems to except them from the general rule of regulations.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 3 -

1.   At least forty days before making any statutory rules to which this section applies, notice of the proposal . . . shall be published in the Gazette.

2.   During those forty days any public body may obtain copies of the draft rules on payment of the prescribed sum. . . . and on the expiration of those forty days the rules may be made . . . and shall come into operation forthwith or at such time as is prescribed in the rules.

Mr. MAHON(Coolgardie). - I suggest to the Prime Minister that it would be well to amend the clause by substituting the word " sixty " for the word " forty " wherever it occurs. That would give effect to the suggestion which I made during the second-reading debate.

Amendments (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to-

That the word ''forty," wherever occurring, be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " sixty."

That the words "public body," wherever occurring, be omitted, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " person."

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