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Tuesday, 8 November 1938

Mr NAIRN (Perth) .- I have a good deal of sympathy for the amendment. What concerns me most is whether there is under this clause a right of appeal at all from the decision of tha board. As I read it. the Minister must act on the recommendation of the board. The recommendation of the board is a condition precedent to his so acting. Subclause 5 provides that where a licence has been suspended the Minister may in certain circumstances have it restored. The condition precedent to the restoration of the licence is that the person whose licence has been suspended or cancelled has given a satisfactory undertaking to comply with the prescribed conditions and restrictions. But the Minister may act only on report by the board that that undertaking has been given. If it came to a contest between the Minister and the board I do not think the Minister would have authority to overrule the board. The honorable member for Franklin has proposed, as a safeguard, a right of appeal to a magistrate. After all, magistrates are accustomed to determine such issues, and they are much more likely to do justice to the question than is a Minister situated, perhaps, thousands of miles away from the scene of the inquiry. Under the Motor Traffic Acts of the various States, licences have to be obtained to drive a motor car. The issue of these licences is within the power of the police, but throughout the States there is a right of appeal to a stipendiary magistrate against the decision of the police. In Western Australia we have the Estate Agents Act which requires estate agents to be licensed. The authorities have the right to refuse an application; but in the event of a refusal, the applicant may appeal to a stipendiary magistrate. I think that the clause should clearly express a right of appeal either to the Minister or to a magistrate. As a matter of preference, I suggest that provision should be made for appeal to the latter. If a case involving the suspension or cancellation of a licence arose in Western Australia, the Minister would bo 2,000 miles away and would have no local representative to conduct the inquiry; he would have to rely on the local representatives of the board in that State to do so. I do not know how, in these circumstances, the Minister could have a proper inquiry made. It is obvious that he himself could not make the necessary personal investigation. I have no desire to oppose the Government on this matter, but I should like the Minister to look into it, in order to satisfy himself as to whether some provision for appeal should be made. If an appeal is to be allowed it is desirable that it should be to a magistrate rather than to the Minister.

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