Statute Law Revision Bill 2016: Second Stage

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

It is a pleasure to bring the Statute Law Revision Bill to the House. Its purpose is to repeal spent and obsolete public general Acts passed between 1922 and 1950. As the first comprehensive review of Acts passed by the Oireachtas, the Bill will result in a significant reduction in the size of the Statute Book for this period. In total, some 297 Acts, accounting for 42% of the 707 enforced Acts passed between 1922 and 1950, are proposed for repeal.

The Bill is the latest in a series of measures to be enacted to overhaul the Statute Book. Previous Statute Law Revision Bills were brought before this House in which they received cross-party support.

The statute law revision programme was initiated in 2003. It formerly operated within the auspices of the Office of the Attorney General and is now contained in the government reform unit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Its purpose is to enhance public accessibility to the Statute Book. There has been a particular need for such revision in Ireland because our unique legislative past has left us with a complex stock of legislation with enactments from the Parliaments of Ireland, England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, as well as the Oireachtas.

The statute law revision programme is already responsible for five distinct but complementary Statute Law Revision Acts between 2005 and 2015. These have successfully repealed all obsolete primary legislation enacted prior to Independence and, in addition, have revoked all obsolete secondary legislation made up to 1 January 1821. To date, over 60,000 items of legislation have been either expressly or implicitly repealed under the programme. This Bill, when enacted, together with the five previous Statute Law Revision Acts, will collectively be the most extensive set of repealing measures in the history of the State and the most extensive set of statute law revision measures ever enacted anywhere in the world.

The benefits of statute law revision are well documented. These include the creation of certainty as to which laws remain in force; the modernisation of the Statute Book; the enhancement of public accessibility to the Statute Book; and the codification or consolidation of the statute law of the State. It is in the public interest to proceed with this Bill in that these proposals will assist in reducing the regulatory burden for business, industry and citizens by simplifying the complex stock of legislation on the Statute Book, as well as helping to provide legal clarity to the area. The importance of simplifying this complex stock was noted with approval by the OECD review of better regulation in Ireland 2010, which reported that initiatives, such as the Statute Law Revision Acts, were impressive efforts to address the challenge and improve accessibility. In addition, the programme is a specific element of the public service reform plan 2014 to 2016 and feeds into broader public governance initiatives such as Ireland's participation in the global open government partnership.

The Statute Law Revision Bill 2016 repeals 297 public general Acts, which, following detailed examination and consultation, have been determined to be spent and obsolete. The identification and examination of primary legislation has proceeded chronologically and this Bill deals with Acts enacted by the Oireachtas between 1922 and 1950.

As our decade of centenaries moves closer to the anniversary of the foundation of the State, it is particularly appropriate we are examining and removing some of its earliest legislation that has long since served its purpose. In doing so, we pave the way for the next 100 years of legislative growth. The legislation of this period shows our nation in its infancy developing its own legislative framework. It follows the transition from the Irish Free State to the fully independent Republic of today, while capturing several of the birth pangs felt along the way. The obsolete Acts listed for repeal include the Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act 1923, enacted following the outbreak of the Civil War, which granted far-reaching powers and additional offences aimed at ensuring public safety. It included the imposition of the death penalty or penal servitude for anyone found guilty of an armed revolt against the Government of Saorstát Éireann or certain associated offences.

Several Acts are repealed, which amended the now defunct 1922 Constitution of Saorstát Éireann, including the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Act 1933, which repealed Article 22 of the Free State Constitution, which required Members of the Oireachtas to take an oath declaring their faithfulness to His Majesty, King George V, and his heirs and successors. The Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Act 1936, which abolished the Senate of Saorstát Éireann is also repealed. A new Seanad was, of course, established by the 1937 Constitution.

Other Acts to be repealed include the League of Nations (Guarantee) Act 1923, which provided for Ireland to join the League of Nations; the Telephone Capital Acts 1924 to 1938, which authorised expenditure of funds to develop the telephone system of Saorstát Éireann; and the Emergency Powers Act 1939, which granted wide-ranging powers at the outbreak of Second World War, including the power to suspend the operation of any law.

The Bill has been accompanied by a process of consultation, which included the publication of a draft list of Acts to be repealed on the website of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. All Departments and relevant local authorities were consulted and advised on Acts of relevance to them, as well as given an opportunity to provide observations on the proposed approach to those Acts.

Section 1 is the central feature of the Bill, providing for the repeal of the 297 Acts listed in the Schedule.

It includes a small number of Acts that were listed for repeal in previous Bills, but the repeal, for a variety of reasons, was never commenced. Following consultation with officials in the relevant Departments, it was confirmed that these Acts were suitable for repeal and will now be repealed in this Bill.

The provisions of section 1 depart from the approach that has been taken in the previous four Statute Law Revision Acts. These earlier Acts would have provided for all statutes within the category of legislation under consideration to be repealed with the exception of the statutes listed in the Schedule to the Act. This approach was taken for reasons of clarity; these earlier Acts repealed thousands of pieces of legislation, leaving only a handful of statutes in force. It was reasonable, therefore, to list only the legislation that was being retained on the Statute Book. In this case, it is more reasonable to list the spent and obsolete Acts in the Schedule and provide for their repeal in the Bill, and that is what we have done in this section.

Section 2 provides a number of savings clauses. Section 2(3) provides that the inclusion of an Act in the Schedule shall not be construed as meaning that the Act, or any provision of it, was of full force and effect immediately before the passing of this Act. Section 3 provides for a Short Title for this Bill when enacted and collective citation for all the Statute Law Revision Acts to date.

The Schedule lists the specific Acts identified in the course of the review as appropriate for repeal because they have ceased to be relevant or have become unnecessary.

I wish to outline an amendment to this Bill, which I intend to introduce on Committee Stage. The old Irish Parliament passed a public Act in 1800 entitled, "An Act for Incorporating the Association for Discountenancing Vice and Promoting the Knowledge and Practice of the Christian Religion". This association was formed as a voluntary society in 1792. The Act provided for the incorporation of the association, conferring its rights to purchase and own property, to sue and be sued, to have a common seal as well as other key provisions governing the association, including the right to make by-laws in respect of its internal governance. This Act was repealed in its entirety by the Statute Law Revision Act 2007.

It has since come to our attention that this association is still in existence and continues to function. The association is registered as a charity under the name of the Association for Promoting Christian Knowledge, APCK. It supports the publication and distribution of religious educational material and provides religious educational support for the Church of Ireland. We have confirmed that the APCK is one and the same association as the Association for Discountenancing Vice and Promoting the Knowledge of the Christian Religion. It appears that the organisation has used both names interchangeably throughout the years. However, the name of the association was not officially changed. This change of name may explain why there was no connection made between the Association for Discountenancing Vice and Promoting the Knowledge of the Christian Religion and the APCK in the consideration of the repeal for the purposes of the Statute Law Revision Act 2007, despite a widespread campaign of consultation and advertisement in the national press at the time.

The effect of the repeal is to abolish the association's existence leaving no body or persons who can deal with its affairs or property. The individual members of the association still exist but they do not have the power to act on behalf of the abolished association to organise its affairs. It is not clear with whom the former association's rights and obligations, including its property rights, vest.

It is clear, therefore, that the Act establishing the association was repealed in error by the Oireachtas because the association is, in fact, alive and continues to function. Had we been aware that this was the case, the Act would never have been repealed. The legal limbo in which the repeal leaves the association is an unfair and unconstitutional interference in the property rights of the association. The association is entitled to remain in being according to its 1800 form and, in the circumstances, the association should be reinstated by statute.

It is proposed, therefore, that the best way to put the association back in the position in which it was prior to the enactment of the 2007 Act would be to repeal the repeal effected by the 2007 Act and to deem it never to have taken effect. This will ensure that there was no interruption in the life of the association and things done by it between the enactment of the 2007 Act and the new legislation would thus have been validly done. The Attorney General is satisfied that such a retroactive provision would not be constitutionally objectionable because the Oireachtas would not be declaring any act to be an infringement of the law. The wording of the proposed amendment to reinstate the association will be tabled on Committee Stage in the Seanad.

Since the publication of the Bill, we have identified a further four Acts that are suitable for repeal. It is proposed to add these to the Schedule on Committee Stage.

The Bill is a rather technical piece of legislation but an important and necessary one. It represents another step in the journey we are on to tidy up and simplify the Irish Statute Book. The enactment of the legislation will deliver benefits in facilitating the process of public governance reform and in reducing the regulatory burden on businesses and citizens. It will also ensure that our Statute Book is significantly more modem and will enhance public accessibility to the laws that govern our people as they go about their business in their daily lives. I commend the Bill to the House.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Statute Law Revision Bill 2016. Fianna Fáil will be supporting the Bill. It is part of a process to create a modern and streamlined Irish Statute Book which is more accessible to citizens and to businesses. The process of condensing the Irish Statute Book and making it more relevant and accessible was started in 2005 under a Fianna Fáil-led Government and it will clear away the dead wood of thousands of redundant and obsolete Acts that are clogging the Statute Book. The Statute Law Revision Acts 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012 repealed many Acts enacted between 1751 and Irish Independence in 1922. Previous Acts in this regard have dealt with Acts enacted pre-1922 or pre-Independence. This Bill focuses on public general Acts enacted between 1922 and 1950. A total of 1,124 were reviewed and of those, 297 have been selected to be repealed. Many of the Acts are monotonous and ordinary, but some of them are interesting to note. Number 33, from 1924 is the Telephone Capital Act 1924, "an Act to grant further money for the development of the telephonic system of Saorstát Éireann". Number 7 from 1932 is the Eucharistic Congress (Miscellaneous Provisions ) Act 1932, "an Act to make certain modifications in the law for the purposes of the Eucharistic Congress to be held in the month of June 1932". Number 1, from 1937, is the Spanish Civil War (Non-intervention) Act 1937, "an Act to carry into execution the international obligations of Saorstát Éireann in relation to the civil war now being waged in Spain, and to make such provisions as are necessary or expedient for that purpose, and in particular to prohibit citizens of Saorstát Éireann from participating in that war". We can see there is quite a lot of legislation that is past its sell-by date at this stage.

When Ireland gained independence in 1922, it passed an Act to inherit all laws that had previously applied to the jurisdiction. This means that many ancient laws, including those passed in Westminster while Ireland was part of the UK, still apply today unless they have been repealed in some way. The continued presence of redundant legislation is misleading for the user who may believe that it is still relevant and in force by virtue of it simply remaining on the Statute Book. The user of the Statute Book may have to undertake the time-consuming task of carefully analysing a statute, only to come to the conclusion that it no longer applies.

As was noted in previous debates on the subject, it is not appropriate that laws from the pre-Independence era remain in force here indefinitely. The volume of old legislation is so great that the only way to approach the question of statute law revision is to proceed in stages. The Statute Law Revision Act 2012 repealed all statutes enacted before Irish Independence on the 6 December 1922, with the exception of statutes specified in Schedule 1 to the Act and to the Statute Law Revision Acts of 2007 and 2009. Previous phases of the statute law revision project reviewed public general Acts, local and personal Acts up to 1850 and private Acts up to 1750. This Act complements that process by repealing all local and personal Acts enacted after 1850 and before 6 December 1922 and all private Acts enacted after 1750 and before 6 December 1922, with the exception of a “white list” of Acts that are specifically preserved. The Act repealed an estimated 2,900 obsolete Acts enacted between 1751 and Irish Independence in 1922. The list of Bills covered is fascinating and represents a slice of Irish history in the pre-Independence era. Examples of the old laws that were repealed are private divorce Acts, designed to dissolve marriages in the days when there was no judicial divorce jurisdiction in Ireland. The Act also repealed obsolete statutes relating to conferring of citizenship on non-nationals, again dating back to a period where Ministers had no power to confer naturalisation and it had to be carried out by Parliament. The Act also specified around 790 pieces of old legislation which are still relevant and which are being specifically kept in force, including the Saint Stephen’s Green Act 1877, which formally opened Saint Stephen's Green to regulated public use, and which gives the Chief Secretary or Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant - now the Minister for Finance - the authority to issue by-laws relating to its use.

As part of the current programme of statute law revision initiated in 2003 - under a previous Fianna Fáil Government - a total of almost 5,000 old Acts have already been eliminated. One similar previous law, passed in 2005, removed the 700 year obligation for every citizen of Ireland to own a bow and arrow, and to practice archery - but also withdrew the law which abolished pillory, the act of locking someone into stocks so that they could be pelted with tomatoes. The Adulteration of Tea Act was passed in 1776, two years after the Boston Tea Party which triggered the American revolution. When this Act was enacted, the total rose to nearly 8,000, which - together with an additional 40,557 Acts - are implicitly repealed by the legislation. Fianna Fáil will support this Bill as it proceeds through the House and I offer my commendations and recognition to the staff who have worked diligently in bringing the Bill to fruition.

I welcome the Minister to the House and I welcome this legislation. We all must welcome anything that makes life easier for the citizen or for the public when accessing legislation. I congratulate and thank the people in the Departments who have gone through all 297 Acts that are obsolete. It was a very tedious job to go through all of those pieces of legislation to see that they are not being enacted at the moment. The Minister of State referred to one particular Act that had been done away with in 2007, it had been brought to the attention of the Department, and it is now going to be restored to the Statute Book. I welcome this because it shows that the process does work. Perhaps the Minister of State could clarify when this was brought to the attention of the Department and how long it took to put it back in to focus. I understand it will not be put back until this legislation is passed but was there any hardship involved for the group that it affected? I presume there are no other pieces of legislation involved in this issue.

I welcome the Bill. It is great for those who are working in the courts and who work on legislation on a daily or weekly basis. The last time this was done it was one of the biggest pieces of revision of legislation in the world. I remember when that legislation was passed. It was very interesting and we went through many of the Acts that were being removed from the Statute Book at the time. It was greatly appreciated by those in the law business. More importantly it is to be welcomed for the citizens many of whom, especially people who are retired, go through legislation and they find it very interesting - even if it is not they who are affected - and this is going to make it much easier for them. When I go through some of the Acts that we are going to repeal with this legislation it is interesting to note that the opening and closing hours of shops and other trades in the Dublin district were covered by law. Any type of business can choose opening and closing times whenever they want now. There have been quite a lot of changes since 1922 and since 1950 with regard to many of those laws and with the advent of the Internet.

Some of those laws made provision for funding the telephone system in 1923. We now have a much more advanced world where the Internet is important to every household. In a short period of time life moves very quickly; from the basic telephone - which very few people had - at that time and the Government making a provision to set up telephone lines to today where we have Wi-Fi and very modern technology. It is unbelievable what can happen in a short time.

I note that in 1937 there was a repeal of legislation with regard to the Clerk of the Seanad. That piece of legislation, since this House received the confidence of the public, will not need to be used again.

I welcome the Bill and I wholeheartedly support it. It is in the interests of the law and of the public.

I welcome this Bill and commend all the staff behind all the hard work. Sinn Féin will be supporting this legislation. While for some this is a fascinating historical project, I am also sure it was quite a laborious task to go through our Statute Book, assessing what needed to be kept and revoked. It is important work and I welcome the fact we are, again, updating our Statute Book to ensure it is as relevant and accessible as possible.

When one takes a look at the Acts involved, one really gets a sense of the turmoil and chaos this State has been built upon. We are dealing with Acts between 1920 and 1950, laws passed during times such as our own Civil War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. It was a time of war and uncertainty, evident in the range of emergency Acts passed during those 30 years which we are now repealing.

It is also fascinating to see de Valera's ban on Irish citizens participating in the Spanish Civil War will be repealed. We should not forgot the decision taken by Eoin O'Duffy's Blueshirt brigade to defy that law and to stand shoulder to shoulder with Franco's fascists, while the Connolly Column, led by Frank Ryan, fought for a republic. It is a nice little reminder of where some of the parties in this Chamber actually came from and their heritage.

What about the Senator's party's history?

However, while all this work is undoubtedly useful and necessary, is it really that urgent? Why exactly are we spending our time repealing laws from 90 years ago, Acts that are effectively dead, when there are laws today affecting people's lives that need repealed? Laws that need to be dealt with are being pushed down the road for six months here and eight months there. Why is it that 12-month civic committees are being set up to look at laws, while we repeal redundant laws?

I have a concern about who actually carried out this extensive body of work. In 2015, the most recent round of this historical project, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform revealed to us that the State was using people off JobBridge to do the work. Will the Minister of State clarify if the same system was used to fill these positions? I have this concern not only because JobBridge was a scandalous scheme whereby workers were exploited by doing a day's work for little over €3 an hour, but also because JobBridge sold itself as an avenue to enter a business and earn oneself a long-term job. However, on this occasion there was not even a carrot and stick for a sustainable, stable long-term job on offer at the end. Overall, this was a difficult and onerous job and it should have paid a fair wage to those who were qualified to do the work.

The Official Report during the passage of the Spanish Civil War (Non-Intervention) Act 1937 makes for fascinating reading. The Act set out the international obligations of Saorstát Éireann regarding the civil war waged in Spain and prohibited citizens of Saorstát Éireann from participating in that war. The then Deputy, Patrick Belton, the famously anti-communist leader of the Irish Christian Front and who was politically close to Michael Collins, spoke at length on Second Stage, berating the then Government for being allegedly sympathetic to the "Red Government of Spain", declaring that "99.9 per cent. of the Irish people stand for the recognition of General Franco, and there should be no equivocation about it." Although a vocal and forthright supporter of Franco's fascism, he did not support Eoin O'Duffy's Irish brigade participating in anti-communist fighting in the Spanish Civil War, believing its place was better in Ireland to combat any domestic sympathies for socialism or left-wing politics. He was at pains to point out, however, that he believed that a law preventing Irish Catholics from fighting for Franco was worse than the penal days when Irish Catholics were not prevented from joining European armies to fight for their religion.

The then Deputy, James Dillon, at the time favoured a policy of non-intervention in Spain because he and his Fine Gael colleagues believed that policy would in the long term contribute to the advantage of General Franco and the Burgos Government. Interestingly, there were lengthy and substantial attempts during the Dáil debate to defend General Franco from accusations of being a fascist, deeming that to be a slur simply put about by the godless communists.

These bear thought-provoking parallels to some of the defences of the US President-elect Donald Trump's policies in some mainstream media outlets now. They would have us believe that his calls for the indiscriminate deportation of minority communities are simply new, sensible and strategic immigration controls, and that accusations of racism are simply lefty histrionics. The Irish media of the 1930s was similarly pro-Franco. The year before the passing of that Act in 1936, The Times judged the Spanish Civil War as being irrelevant to modern Europe. Clearly, this was incorrect given that it is recognised by many as the beginning of a war against fascism within Europe, leaving open to severe criticism the many states which stood aside while a group of fascists overthrew an elected government.

That said, it was stated during the debate on the Spanish Civil War (Non-Intervention) Act 1937 that were Irish people to go and fight in Spain, the majority would have been on the Franco side. Despite the high regard in which we hold the members of the Irish International Brigade of the Connolly Column these days, this is actually correct. That is not to say that, while we are in the business of repealing the Spanish Civil War (Non-Intervention) Act 1937, that we cannot use the opportunity to commend the small number of left-wing republicans and communists who decided to fight fascism in Spain, despite Dáil Members at the time depicting a narrative of a holy war being fought to protect Catholicism from imminent destruction and the evils of communism. I want to put on the record of the House the six heroic men from Limerick who fought on the republican side in Spain: Gerard Doyle, Joe Ryan, Emmett Ryan, Paddy Brady, Frank Ryan and Jim Woulfe.

It was believed the Act would aid Franco in the long term. The political and religious establishment's fear was that if Franco failed, Ireland would be facing a similar conflict within a decade and that left-wing politics, even secular inclinations, must be denounced at every opportunity. As it transpired, this did not happen. While Ireland's religious community did not manifest in the same manner in which it did in Spain, we still witness the strong influence of Catholicism on our society in our schools, our hospitals and our non-governmental sector. It is for this reason that it is important to note and discuss the context in which Acts were passed, such as the Spanish Civil War (Non-Intervention) Act 1937.

Had the fight against Franco succeeded, the course of the 20th century could have unfolded in a far more positive way. Those who fought fascism were not only against something, they fought for liberty and a society without inequality and wars. The renowned anti-fascist Buenaventura Durruti summed this up in his oft quoted statement:

We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing in this minute.

There are other Acts which need to be repealed. My Dáil colleagues will address those on Committee Stage.

I did not think I was going to have a lecture on the Spanish Civil War when I came in here today.

We did find it interesting.

I welcome the Minister of State to the House. I thank the staff for the work they have done on this matter.

I counted 40 Acts, passed between 1922 and 1924, to be repealed. This indicates the dedication and commitment of the people who worked in the brand new Civil Service and State who were starting from scratch. There were also many more Acts passed in that short time which are still in place. This gives an idea of the dedication and commitment of those in establishing the State and ensuring there was a transition. There was a Civil War with horrendous atrocities. When it was over, people settled down to dealing with the issues which affected them every day and making sure the proper structures were set up. Acts such as Valuation (Postponement of Revision) Act 1923, the League of Nations (Guarantee) Act 1923 and the County Courts (Amendment) Act 1923 set up the structures for dealing with the whole civil and criminal process. The Beet Sugar (Subsidy) Act 1925 shows the development of State enterprise. It is important we give recognition to those involved in the founding of the State who ensured it progressed and developed.

The Minister of State referred to an error made in the 2007 Statute Law Revision Act regarding a voluntary society from 1792. The only concern I have is that if there were ground rents acquired during that period and the association in question was the owner of property.

I am just wondering if the legislation is adequate in covering decisions that might have been taken since 2007 or if we could end up with further litigation in that area.

I remember being in the High Court and subsequently in the Supreme Court in the 1980s in connection with an annulment case and relying on laws dating from the 1800s. Likewise, when I was national chairperson of the youth section of Fine Gael, we started a campaign to abolish the status of illegitimacy. At the time, a child born outside of marriage was illegitimate and had no right to his or her father's estate. Our campaign relied on legislation dating back to 1800s. We started the campaign in 1980 but it took us seven years to get a change in the law in that area. Thankfully we have moved on from the slow pace of change, particularly in areas where there is total inequality. In terms of inequality in legislation, one can take the example of women being prohibited from sitting on juries. That had to be taken to the courts to be challenged. At least when a Department or a Minister identifies a defect in legislation, it is dealt with in a timely manner.

I welcome this Bill, which takes a large amount of legislation out of the system. It is also a recognition of times past when people put in the effort, both at Civil Service and political level, to develop the State and make sure that we had a safe and secure place in which people could live, work and grow up.

Before I begin my closing remarks I thank the Members for their co-operation. I also thank them for the very informed and topical discussion, as well as the history lesson in which I will not get involved.

We will not have a repeat of that.

The Bill we have been considering this evening proposes to repeal spent and obsolete Acts enacted between 1922 and 1950. This is the first comprehensive review of Acts enacted by the Oireachtas and will result in a significant reduction in the size of the Statute Book for that period. This Bill is the sixth Statute Law Revision Bill in a programme which aims to ensure that Ireland has a modern and accessible Statute Book. To date the programme has produced the following: the Statute Law Revision (Pre-1922) Act 2005, which repealed a selection of pre-1922 statutes; the Statute Law Revision Act 2007, which was a comprehensive revision of pre-1922 public general Acts; the Statute Law Revision Act 2009, which revised all private Acts up to and including 1750 and all local and personal Acts up to and including 1850; the Statute Law Revision Act 2012, which revised all private Acts from 1750 to 1922 and all local and personal Acts from 1850 to 1922; and the Statute Law Revision Act 2015, which revoked secondary instruments made before 1 January 1921.

By tidying up all of the spent and obsolete legislation enacted between 1922 and 1950, this Bill will contribute significantly to the improvement of the overall regulatory environment in Ireland. It will simplify and modernise our laws and make the Statute Book more intelligible. This will save time and costs for lawyers and others who need to know what laws are in force and will make it easier for the public to access justice.

Before concluding I will address some of the concerns raised during the debate. Senator Colm Burke asked when the error was noticed. It was noticed during the summer and the Department is not aware of any other errors. The Senator will accept that to have only one error, which was due to a name change, in the context of 60,000 items is not bad. Every other Senator has complimented the work of the Department and all involved in this, including those on the JobBridge scheme who have done great work. I thank all of those who were involved and reiterate that one error in the context of 60,000 items is quite good. Senator Colm Burke also expressed concern that this may have implications in the context of ground rent. The Bill will have the effect of negating the original repeal, so we will be back to where we started. Therefore, there should not be any complications arising with regard to ground rent but I will double-check that and revert to the Senator on it.

That is a nice challenge.

It is the case that JobBridge scheme participants were involved in the work on this Bill a few years ago and they did great work. The scheme was very successful and I understand that all of the participants went on to secure full-time jobs. I do not share Senator Paul Gavan's views on JobBridge and believe the scheme was quite successful in many cases. While I would accept that the scheme was abused in some cases, I would argue that in general it was effective, with over 60% of participants securing full-time work on completion of the scheme. In that sense, it was time well spent for the participants. If I had a choice between sitting at home or taking part in the JobBridge scheme, I would be happy to choose the latter. I accept that there was not a lot of extra money for the participants but they got great work experience and in some cases the scheme led to excellent careers. I am a firm believer in people getting experience and on-the-job training and we need to see more of that. I hope that we will see a revised version of JobBridge in the future. I am not denying that there were flaws in the scheme. It was introduced with great speed in 2011 during the emergency but it was useful in some cases. In the case of the work on this Bill, JobBridge participants were involved but not in the last year. All of those involved went on to secure full-time work.

I thank all of the Members for their contributions to this debate and look forward to further deliberations on Committee Stage next week.

Question put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to take Committee Stage?

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 22 November 2016.
Sitting suspended at 5.25 p.m. and resumed at 6.15 p.m.