Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - 02 January 1975



Debates Day 3 - 02 January 1975

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Parliamentary Record 1


Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly


Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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pages 30 - 50

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES-Thursday 2 January 1975 oversee everything that happens. I charge the Adiministrator in Council to that task and I shall be very critical indeed if anyone in the Administrator's Council fails to carry out that task. The powers whioh are given to the director and which I will deal with later are tied up with the earlier provision of the bill whioh automatically, without undenstanding, approves of all aotions taken during the emergency which could have been taken legally if this ordinance had been in force at that time. It is an almost impossible task to ask anybody to exercise in good conscience his decision as to whether or not the validating section should be passed without knowing exactly what has happened and whaJt is going on. We are completely ignorant of what is going on and completely- ignorant of what has happened. But some validation is necessary and it falls to us only to make sure that, in using very general words of validationtS, we do not authorise retrospectively the doing of something which if we had known it had happened, we would have disapproved of. I have looked very carefully at the provisions of Clause 3 and I am not ahle to suggest any amendment which wBl render the effect of the section more innocuous eX'cept such amendments as are . already proposed. But in ,conside'ring clause 3, every member should understand that he is approving acts of which he knows nothing and that the descr,iption of those acts is a most important ~hing. If any member of this Assembly thinks that any des'cription contained inolause 3 may authorise something which he may disagree with, it is his duty to suggest amendments to it. I come now to clause 10 which contains the powers of the director and I do not propose to deal with them in detail because that is a matter for the committee. Speaking generaHy, I am gJoad to see that the powers are only for the purpose of dealing with the emergency. I am very g1ad to see that they are limited to 3 months. I am more glad to se'e that the power contained in dause 1O(1} (f) to requisition or authorise the requisition of real or personal property is now subject to the payment of compensation. I am very glad to see that the power Ito be given to the director is limited to the purposes of 35 -the exercise of any power under this section; it is specific. I am very glad to see the pro'V'ision in paragraph G) that relates tQ vaccination and innoculatiQn provides for persons who may wish to refuse to submit to vaccination or innoculation. I am very glad to see 'al'So the provision in paragraph (1) for the 'conservation and supply of food, petrol, building materials, bedding, clothing, first aid, medical supplies or other necessities. Although that is an essential power to be given to the director in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, I wonder whether the provisions of ,the ordinance are sufficient to allow for compensatiQn for the sort of control, the sort of cQnser,V'ation and supply, which may be effected by the director under a power as geneml as is given by paragraph (1) of this clause. The clause is unlimited. There is a provision relating to compensatiQn; of that I am well aware, but the cQntrol 'Of, conservation and supply of fDOd may involve all sorts of unnecessary interferences with persons and the utmQst that I can say in regard to the terms of this clause is that the Administrator's Coundl must examine 'control, conservation and supply measures or directions by the Director of Emergency Services to make sure that they are fair and reasonable, that they are not arbitrary or capricious, and that they do not impose undue hardShip en particular people. Rationing may 'indeed be necessary but, if there is flationing, every citizen ought to be able tQ understand the means by which he is ratiened. It ought not to be aJibitrary; tit ought not to be capr1ciousIy determined from day to day upon the decision 'Of one man. If there is rationing, if there is conservation, if there is rigid price contrQI, then it must be done in a fashion in which the people know exactly what is going to happen and what their l'ights are in all circumstances. That ,is why further ,consideratiQn may indeed be necessary to provide that the powers of paragraph (1) of clause (10) (1) are exercised by some sort of instrument whkh wrIl be ava1kvble to members 'Of the public so that they can undel'stand how they are being gQverned. Apart frQm the control which I have ask,ed the Administrator in Ceuncil to exercise ever the exercise of this !power by 1Jhe director, I suggest that it ought not to be done by simple