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Thursday, 28 May 1931

Senator GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the Minister mean that the Governor-General is the mere puppet of the Government?

Senator DOOLEY - No; but this motion, for an address implies that His Excellency is the puppet of the Government.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon W Kingsmill - Order! It is quite improper to refer in disrespectful terms to His Excellency the Governor-General.

Senator GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I was merely asking a question.

Senator DOOLEY - And I was suggesting that the presentation of an address would be a reflection upon the Governor-General, because it would imply that His Excellency should ignore the advice of his constitutional advisers. I do not complain of the Senate's disallowance of the regulations in question. It is strictly within its power to do that. But it is so much camouflage to suggest that the proposed address is not directly related to regulations which have been disallowed and re-enacted, because the Governor-General is especially invited not to assent to regulations the same in substance as those previously disallowed. In this matter the Senate, in my judgment, is exceeding its constitutional functions. I, therefore, hope that the motion will not be adopted.

Senator McLachlan - We are merely asking the Governor-General to uphold the spirit of the law. If the Executive asked him to do something which is illegal, would he not be entitled to refuse ?

Senator DOOLEY - I venture to say that the Governor-General, being a sound constitutional lawyer, has already considered the legality or otherwise of the Government's action and is satisfied that it is acting within its rights. There is no need to advise the Governor-General upon that point. The purpose of the address is to make effective the disallowance by the Senate of regulations dealing with waterside workers; but it cannot be contended that the Government, in presenting these regulations to the Governor-General, is acting contrary to the Constitution. The right honorable the Leader of the Opposition, with his long ministerial experience, must know this. Nevertheless he threatened some time ago that, if the Government persisted in re-enacting regulations the same in substance as those previously disallowed, he and his supporters would take other action to prevent the administration from giving effect to its policy.

Senator McLachlan - These regulations do not represent the Government'? policy. Its policy was to repeal the Transport Workers Act.

Senator DOOLEY - The honorable senator knows very well that the making of these regulations is in keeping with the Government's policy. I understand fully the reason for the honorable senator's objection. He is feeling somewhat sore, because the power to make regula- tions, which a previous government used for the protection of loyalists or volunteer workers, is now being used by this Government to give effect to its industrial policy which has the endorsement of the people. The proper course for the Opposition to take, if it objects to this regulation-making power being vested in the Executive, is to move for the introduction of legislation to prevent this or any other Government from having the power to make regulations.

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