This Bill proposes to continue for a further year certain expiring enactments relating to the electoral and local government law. The Bill is an annual one and requires to be enacted before the end of the year.
The number of measures required to be continued has now been reduced to four. Senators will remember that some years ago the number of Acts listed in the Schedule to the Bill was very much greater but permanent legislation has replaced most of them. It is the intention to do away as soon as possible with the necessity for continuing from year to year the remaining four measures, and the explanatory memorandum circulated with the Bill sets out the position in this respect as regards each measure.
The two electoral measures—the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, and the Corrupt Practices Commission Expenses Act, 1869—require to be continued pending the codification of the electoral law. Work is proceeding on this but it is too early to say when proposals for codified legislation will be ready.
The Local Authorities (Combined Purchasing) Act, 1939, which provided for the repeal of the Act of 1925 was never brought into force. This Act made it mandatory on local authorities to obtain their commodity requirements from official contractors — a system which could operate satisfactorily only if commodities were freely available. The continued shortages of commodities and delays in delivery make it necessary to retain for a further period the more elastic procedure for the purchase of commodities by local authorities permitted by the Act of 1925.
As regards Section 65 of the Local Government Act, 1941, which is also continued by this Bill, consideration is being given to its replacement as soon as possible by a permanent measure.
The present Bill being merely a continuing Bill does not involve any new principle and makes no change in existing legislation. I feel, therefore, that I can confidently ask the House to accept it.