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Thursday, 23 June 1949

Mr BEALE (Parramatta) .- 1 raise a small point, but I consider it one of importance to which the attention of the Government and people should be directed. Sub-clause 1 of the clause reads -

In the exercise of its powers under this Act, the Authority shall cause as little detriment and inconvenience -and do as little damage as possible.

I object to the whole of that paragraph as 'being redundant and as being quite plainly a piece of unnecessary propaganda and humbug. I have spent all my working life of 25 years in dealing with legal documents and acts of Parliament, but until I came to Canberra and heard this Labour Government in action, and read some of the statutes of which it has been responsible. I had never come across legislation of this kind. I had never come across legislation, either in the Commonwealth or State spheres, which did more than attempt to put into plain language legal prohibitions, obligations or commissions; but there has entered into this Government's procedure b practice of putting into legislation words which have no legal effect and which are used only for the purpose of persuading ignorant people that they have some effect when, in fact, they have no effect a t all. The words -

.   . The Authority shall cause w little detriment and inconvenience and as little damage as possible. do not mean anything, because, as a matter of law the authority is already bound to do things in that way. The succeeding provisions of the clause make that perfectly plain that a person whose property is damaged will have a right of compensation. Why, therefore, were these highly unnecessary words inserted in subclause 1? They were inserted solely for propaganda purposes. Legislation should not contain unnecessary words. It is not the purpose of legislation to try to persuade people about anything. The purpose of a clause in an act of Parliament is to lay down rights and liabilities and obligations. By inserting the words to which I have taken exception the Government has pursued a disgraceful course. A similar course was pursued in 1942 when, following the conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers held at Canberra, the Attorney-General introduced a classic piece of legislation in an attempt to persuade the State Premiers to agree to an alteration of the Constitution. All honorable members and other people who took any notice of politics then will remember the propaganda and the humbug that was contained in that bill. Again, in 1944, in a similar measure there was a recital of words that had no legal effect but which were included for propaganda purposes only. It is time that the attention of the people was directed towards this practice. The lights of a citizen are no more 'and no less for the words contained in sub-claus 1 of this clause. It would be just as futile for the Government to put into it such words as, " The authority shall act with magnaminity, generosity and Christian charity towards all persons ".

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