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Thursday, 24 May 1973
Page: 2642

Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The introduction of this Bill has become necessary because of legislation enacted by the Tasmanian Parliament which has the effect of changing the title of magistrates in that State from 'Stipendiary Magistrate' to 'Magistrate', and because of the decision of the Australian Government to change the name of the Gazette. Opportunity is taken in the Bill to clarify also some other expressions used in federal legislation. The part of the Bill dealing with references to magistrates in federal legislation will ensure that Tasmanian magistrates may continue to exercise federal jurisdiction and to perform other functions conferred on State magistrates under federal law.

The Tasmanian Attorney-General, by arrangement with Senator Greenwood, the then Attorney-General, in November 1972 agreed to defer the bringing of the legislation into operation pending the enactment of necessary changes in federal law. A number of federal Acts confer jurisdiction or functions on persons who hold office as 'chief, stipendiary, police, resident or special magistrate' in a State. The Bill provides that, where in an Act reference is made to a stipendiary magistrate, the reference is to be read as including a reference to any magistrate in respect of whose office an annual salary is payable. The latter words will exclude justices of the peace who in some States may act as magistrates. This provision will apply not only to the Tasmanian situation but also to any future changes in a State in the designation of stipendiary magistrates.

The Bill also contains a provision the purpose of which is to avoid the necessity, in future Acts, of referring to magistrates by the lengthy description to which I have referred. The Bill also contains provisions to give effect to the Government's intention to use, wherever possible, the term 'Australia' to signify the Australian nation. This involves adopting the name 'Australian Government Gazette' in place of the 'Commonwealth of Australia Gazette', the use of the imprint 'Government Printer of Australia' instead of 'Commonwealth Government Printer' on official documents, and the use of the term 'Australia' instead of 'Commonwealth' in legislation.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.

Mr ENDERBY - The Bill will also ensure that references in legislation to 'Australia' or to 'The Commonwealth', used in a geographical sense, do not include the external Territories. Existing legislation has consistently been drafted on the basis that the external Territories are not part of the Commonwealth* of Australia, but some judicial pronouncements in the High Court have thrown doubt on the correctness of that assumption. The provisions to give effect to these changes are contained in clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Bonnett) adjourned.

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