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Tuesday, 22 November 1960

Mr CHRESBY (Griffith) .- I propose to disregard the rather warped reasoning of the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) because it has no relation to the science of semantics. I would like to question the statement made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who, if my memory serves me rightly, referred to an Imperial act of 1870 as applying to Australia.

Mr Whitlam - I referred to the Foreign Enlistment Act.

Mr CHRESBY - I remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that he would be quite correct if section 2 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act still applied to the Commonwealth of Australia, but it does not. Under sections 2 to 4, particularly section 2, of the Statute of Westminster, no law of the Imperial Parliament applies to, nor shall any future law of the Imperial Parliament apply to, the Commonwealth of Australia without the consent of the Commonwealth. To the best of my knowledge, since that legislation was passed at the instigation of the former Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Evatt, in 1942-

Mr Whitlam - But that applied to acts thereafter passed by the Imperial Parliament, not to acts which had previously been passed and already applied.

Mr CHRESBY - With due deference, I disagree because if that were so, on your own argument, the common law of Great Britain would have applied and there would have been no necessity, as has been already pointed out by the Attorney-General, to apply the common law in the federal sphere because of the passing of the Statute of Westminster. Although the AttorneyGeneral was very careful in his secondreading speech to point out the import of the Statute of Westminster, I have not yet heard a single member of the Opposition, in dealing with this bill, refer to the implications of that statute.

Question put -

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Whitlam's amendment) stand part of proposed section 24aa.

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