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Wednesday, 13 September 1972
Page: 1287

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) - -The motion calls for the suspension of standing orders to facilitate the House taking a certain course. I confine my remarks to that motion, although I make a glancing observation to the effect that I have considerable misgivings about the background against which the legislation has been brought into being. It would seem to me to be more appropriate to state those misgivings when the Bill is being considered. The immediate question is simply this: Should an attempt be made by the Parliament to introduce an omnibus Bill to validate all the regulations and ordinances which, by dint of the judgment given yesterday, are thrown into doubt? I may share with the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) the sense of anguish and resentment as to the way that the Ordinance has been enforced. I leave that matter until later, when we are dealing with the Bill.

We are dealing now with this simple proposition: Should an attempt be made by the Parliament to have this facilitation - an attempt to give a general cloak, a cover, to all the regulations and ordinances which have been passed by delegation of the Parliament in the past? That is the sole issue, as I see it. It goes back over 50 or 60 years. It is not that the body, the content, of the regulation or ordinance is in doubt or is exposed to invalidity because of what the regulation or ordinance contains. The blemish which comes into the ordinancemaking procedure, as I understand the judgment, comes by way of the form of notification. That is the sole issue. If the process of notification is wrong, to that extent the Ordinance is inoperative.

There are 2 problems, and the House has to consider them. They are the inoperativeness of the Ordinance and the invalidity of the Ordinance. They are not 2 estates which coincide. They are quite different. As Mr Justice Fox said, it is not that the particular Ordinance is invalid; it is merely that the form of promulgating, the form of notification, has been wrong. It seems to me to be appropriate to hold fire on suggestions which I might make as to what should be done in relation to the form of notification. With great respect, I find myself in agreement with the view expressed by the 2 judges who did not agree with Mr Justice Fox regarding one defect.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.

Mr KILLEN - I recapitulate in very brief form the argument which I was putting to the House before the suspension of the sitting. It is this: There are 2 distinct issues for the House to decide; one is the question of urgency and the other is a consideration of the merits of the legislation. Attending the latter issue is a consideration of all of the incidents which have led up to the unpleasant circumstance. I hope that I have put the argument with clarity, if not with conviction, to my friends opposite that here we have a whole gathering of statutory instruments, ordinances and regulations sweeping back over a generation and more which are thrust into doubt because of the judgment of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.

That is the issue. The House can make a judgment on that Turning to the other matter of the Aboriginal 'embassy', that remains on its own a distinct and plainly identifiable question. It is not directly linked with the motion which has been proposed by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair). Already in a preemptive way I have indicated that I have some misgivings about certain aspects. I hope that I will be able to explain those misgivings again with candour, although possibly not with conviction or satisfaction to all concerned.




Question pot:

That the motion (Mt Sinclair's) be agreed to.

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