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Tuesday, 6 November 1973
Page: 1541

Senator GREENWOOD (Victoria) - This is a clause also which seeks to substitute the word 'Minister' for the words 'AttorneyGeneral' and which also seeks to delete certain provisions existing in section 168 of the Act. Section 168 is used from time to time because it enables the Attorney-General, if irregularities have occurred and persons have incurred costs which it is felt appropriate should be borne by the Commonwealth and not by the person who actually incurred them, to exercise a discretion for payment to be made. I know from experience that this provision is availed of from time to time, and it is desirable that it should be there and capable of being availed of. But of" course the general scheme of the clause which does provide generally for legal aid takes away much of the impact which previously this section has had. The Opposition proposes that the clause should be omitted and that a new clause should be substituted which, in short form, is that 'section 168 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting subsection (4)'. We believe that sub-section (4) can be omitted because the discretion which is there conferred on the Attorney-General to make orders alleviating problems of cost by authorising their payment by the Commonwealth will be covered by the amendment which is contained in clause 76. But in all the circumstances, having regard to the general policy which we followed and to which expression is given under clause 73, the amendment moved is that section 168 of the Principal Act be amended simply by the omission of sub-section (4). I move:

Omit the clause, substitute the following clause:

74.   Section 168 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting sub-section (4)'.

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