The days of Australians being able to seize the property of Germans to repay the debts of World War I are finally over. Almost 83 years after the guns fell silent on the Western Front, the battle opened by then prime minister Billy Hughes against the German empire has been concluded by a bunch of bureaucrats cleaning up Australia's legislative wasteland.

The Federal Government began a review of so-called subordinate legislation more than a year ago in a bid to clean up laws and regulations that sit on the statute books but which are never used. One of those included the legislative response of the Hughes government to the Treaty of Versailles.

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