I beg to move that this Bill be read a Second Time. This is a Bill to amend the Statutory Declarations Act of 1835. It proposes to remove certain anomalies and overcome certain difficulties that have arisen under that Act. Section 18 of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1835, authorises certain persons to take statutory declarations, namely a justice of the peace, a notary public, or any other officer by law authorised at the time of the passing of that Act to administer an oath. Section 21 of the same Act provides that a person who makes a false statutory declaration under the Act shall be guilty of a misdemeanour. Section 88 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, authorises peace commissioners to take statutory declarations, and the Unemployment Assistance (Qualification Certificate Regulations) Order, 1934, made under the Unemployment Assistance Act, 1933, authorises officers of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to take statutory declarations from applicants for unemployment assistance.
The Courts of Justice Act, 1924, and the Unemployment Assistance Act, 1933, however, do not contain any provision making it an offence for a person to make a false statutory declaration before a peace commissioner or an officer of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and I am advised that it would not be possible to indict a person under Section 21 of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1835, for making a false declaration before any person other than the persons authorised by that Act to take statutory declarations. The main object of the Bill is to remove that anomaly by making it an offence for a person to make a false statutory declaration before any person authorised by law to take statutory declarations, and to provide that that offence shall be triable summarily. Sections 1 and 6 of the Bill are intended to achieve that object. That is really the purpose of the Bill. It does not make any other changes.