Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 15 July 1915

Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania.) .- As the Administration have considered the amendment I desired to submit in regard to the sixth of these Bills, and as I have been informed by the Minister of Defence that they are not prepared to accept that amendment, my further remarkson these proposals will be compressed into a very brief space indeed. I have quoted from Macaulay in regard to the trial of Sir John Fenwick in support of my contention that it is highly desirable that judicial functions should always be kept separate from legislative functions. That I may' show how desirable it is that Parliament should not be the authority to decide whether any business is a monopoly so hurtful to the community as to warrant its being taken over by the Commonwealth, I remind honorable senators of what happens when a Parliament is sitting and deliberating. The Senate numbers thirty-six individuals. We know that there are multifarious calls upon the time of honorable senators, and that the most eloquent amongst us can scarcely command an audience of more than half the members of the Senate. Honorable senators are outside this Chamber consulting with their constituents, in the Library, or are engaged in correspondence. In the circumstances the Senate, , as a legislative Chamber, represents the very negation of a jury that has to try a matter upon evidence. The members of a jury in a Supreme or County Court empannelled to try an action involving £50 dare not act as members of this Chamber act, yet the Government proposal is that the members of this Parliament should have relegated to them the decision whether a particular business is a monopoly that ought to be taken over by the Commonwealth. Where is the man or company carrying on the business to be heard in defence? At the bar of the Senate - when half the members of the jury will be absent? Will a Judge permit three or four of the members of a jury to withdraw themselves from the jury box, and come back to the Court at their own pleasure, even in connexion with the trial of a case involving no more than £100? Not he. Yet, under the Government proposal, a business involving, it may be, £250,000 may be declared to be a monopoly by a parliamentary jury, any member of which is competent to absent himself whenever he pleases from the chamber in which the matter is being considered. I say that is the very negation of a judicial procedure. It is not because I am afraid to give the Commonwealth Parliament authority to take over the control of monopolies which are adjudged to be detrimental to the welfare of the nation that I am opposing the Government proposal, but because the procedure to be adopted in deciding whether a business should be taken over by the Parliament is the absolute antithesis of what a correct judicial procedure should be.

Senator MULLAN (QUEENSLAND) - On the same reasoning the honorable senator might advocate the abolition of Parliament altogether.

Senator BAKHAP - Senator Keating alluded to the habit which is very frequent of comparing things which are absolutely unlike, and Senator Mullan's interjection is absolutely irrelevant to the point I am discussing. I say that Parliament is going to take upon itself the duty of deciding whether a business is a monopoly, and it acts in a way which would not be permitted on the part of a jury by a Judge trying a case involving a sum of £100. It is for this reason I am opposing the Bill dealing with monopolies as presented by the Administration. I have made a fair offer to the Government. I have asked that, in the name of justice, the decision whether a business is a monopoly detrimental to the interests of the nation should be relegated to the High Court. That is absolutely refused. I ask that the measure be so amended as to absolutely prevent any State in Australia acting in an un-Federal manner. That, also, is refused. And yet those who refuse to listen to these suggestions will go out on to the public platforms later, and charge me, and men like me, with being "little Australians."

Suggest corrections