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Thursday, 15 May 1980
Page: 2316

Senator MISSEN ( Victoria ) -by leave-I wish to make a brief statement regarding Notice of Motion No. 1 and Notice of Motion No. 2 standing in my name on the Notice Paper. Both of these notices of motion were given as a result of the deliberations of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee. They were given on the last available day for giving notice when explanations were awaited from the responsible Ministers, and so as to give the Committee time to consider those explanations and to conclude its enquiries.

The first notice of motion relates to a provision whereby an application may be made to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory for an order to review a decision by the Court of Petty Sessions dismissing an information. As I indicated when I gave the notice of motion, the Committee was concerned that this provision might be an abridgement of the double jeopardy' rule, the long established principle that a person who has been acquitted may not be tried again for the same offence. The main reason for the Committee's apprehension was that an identical provision was removed from the Ordinance in 1974, and the explanation which was given for that action at that time was that the provision might be regarded as a violation of the double jeopardy' rule. The Committee had also received a submission from the Law Society of the Territory expressing a number of apprehensions about the provision.

The Committee has now received from the Attorney-General (Senator Durack) a lengthy and detailed analysis of the problems raised by the Committee. Notwithstanding the reasons given for the repeal of the provision in question in 1974, the Attorney-General is firmly of the opinion that the provision does not allow an appeal against an acquittal on the merits of the case. He considers that the provision as drafted allows the prosecution to appeal to the Supreme Court only on questions of law. If the AttorneyGeneral's view is correct, and the Committee is willing to accept, on the basis of the AttorneyGeneral's letter, that it is the correct view, the provision in the Ordinance does not violate the double jeopardy' rule. The Attorney-General has also made a detailed response to the matters raised by the Law Society which in the opinion of the Committee answers those matters. The Committee therefore intends to take no further action in relation to the Ordinance, and accordingly, pursuant to notice of intention given this day, I withdraw Business of the Senate, Notice of Motion No. 1, standing in my name.

The second notice of motion relates to the Overseas Students Charge Collection Regulations, which provide exemptions from the charge imposed by the Overseas Students Charge Act. As I indicated when I gave the notice of motion, the Committee had received a submission on the regulations raising a number of matters which appeared to be relevant to the Committee's principles, and had not had time to consider that submission. The principal matter raised in the submission was the question of whether there ought to be some review of decisions taken pursuant to the grounds of exemption under the regulations. The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affiairs (Mr Macphee) has now responded in detail to those matters raised in the submission, and, in particular, whilst indicating his belief that a review of decisions under the regulations is not appropriate, has informed vie Committee that all legislation within his jurisdiction is presently being examined by the Administrative Review Council to determine whether appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal should be provided.

The Committee is content to leave to the Administrative Review Council the question of whether appeals are appropriate under these regulations, and has decided that no further action should be taken in relation to the regulations. Accordingly, pursuant to notice of intention given this day, I withdraw Business of the Senate, Notice of Motion No. 2, standing in my name.

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