Page 173 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 1991

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Wednesday, 13 February 1991


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR CONNOLLY (10.31): I present the Subordinate Laws (Amendment) Bill 1991. Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This is, again, an exercise of the Labor Opposition's commitment to use private members' business in this Assembly to constructively bring forward reforms to the law that will benefit the community of the Australian Capital Territory. We are committed to that course of action and, although on a number of occasions the standing orders and section 65 of the self-government Act have been used against us to prevent debate on issues of importance, we will continue to produce legislation of benefit to the community and to present it to this house. If the Government chooses to rule that those Bills are not fit for debate and throws them out, we will accept that; but we will not be deterred from our course of legislating for the public good.

Mr Speaker, this is a Bill that I think the Opposition may find is supported by the Government. The purpose of this Bill is fairly minor in terms of the number of lines that it adds to the statute book, but it is important in its implications for the role of this Assembly. It is fundamental, and accepted as fundamental in all parliaments, that the parliament is superior over delegated legislation and that, where regulations are made under an enactment, the public good is protected because the parliament has control over that delegated legislation by way of disallowance.

Delegated legislation has been widely criticised. The very famous work of Lord Hewart in 1929, The New Despotism, was a trenchant critique of the use of delegated legislation by the British Parliament, in place of active legislation that has been subject to full debate and passage through the parliament. It is notorious that, in State parliaments and in the Federal Parliament, the volume of delegated legislation that is passed into law each year often exceeds the volume of legislation that has been put through the parliament.

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