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Wednesday, 25 August 1937

Senator ABBOTT (New South Wales; [5.1].) (I do not desire to add anything to what I said on the previous occasion when this matter was being discussed in this chamber; but in ali sincerity I ask the Government to give serious consideration to the position. If business men desired to purchase a-n old system title, or banks or other large financial institutions proposed to lend a large sum of trust money upon the security of an old system title, they would require from an expert who had thoroughly overhauled the title, a certificate that it was in order. That, in effect, is what Senator DuncanHughes asks the Assistant Minister to accept in this particular instance. As the Leader of the SenateSenator Pearce) pointed out, the Regulations and Ordinances Committee must not assume the functions of legal experts; but it is only right and proper protection for this Senate, to have the opinion of an expert, who has thoroughly investigated the matter, that regulations are in order. The Minister said, in effect, to Senator Duncan-Hughes that certification by a legal expert would not in any way enhance the validity of a regulation in the opinion of the High Court. That is hardly a fair statement of the position. It certainly would not enhance the validity of the regulation, nor does the certificate of an expert conveyancer who finds that an old system title, in his opinion, is one which should be accepted by the prospective purchaser or lender, make that title valid. What he may say about it does not alter the existing state of that title; hut at least it does give a reasonable sense of security or protection to the prospective purchaser or mortgagee. Similar protection in respect of regulations is all that Senator Duncan-Hughes' amendment proposes. In the circumstances surely the Minister will not deny to the Senate when confronted with a regulation, a sense of security similar to that given to the mortgagee or to the purchaser of an old system title. The analogy is a perfect one and I suggest to the Minister (Senator Brennan), who is an experienced legal practitioner, and to his colleague (Senator A. J. McLachlan), who probably has done more conveyancing than any other legal member of the Senate, that the amendment gives to the Senate just that sense of protection to which it is entitled.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The certificate of the Solicitor-General means nothing in a court of law.

Senator ABBOTT -I have much more respect for the opinion of the SolicitorGeneral than, apparently, has the Minister. I know, of course, that in his State he does not encounter the difficulties experienced by members of the legal profession in my State because South Australia has the advantage of the Torrens title, whereas in New South Wales very many properties are still under the old system title.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - All that a conveyancing lawyer does is to absolve trustees from liability.

Senator ABBOTT - They would feel much safer if they bad the certificate of a competent legal authority.I repeat that the analogy is a perfect one, and I do not think that by accepting the amendment the Government would be giving anything away.

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