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Wednesday, 25 August 1920

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister for Works and Railways) . - I cannot accept the amendment, and I ask the Committee to review the position and see where we stand. In 1918, on suggestions which originated from a Justice of the Court, as announced at the time, the law was expressly altered so as to allow the appointment of Deputies to be made by the Governor-General, instead of, as previously, by the President.

Mr Ryan - Did the President suggest the alteration ?

Mr GROOM - At the time one of the Judges was acting as Deputy, and, after consultation with him, the alteration was made.

Mr Austin Chapman - If the amendment now suggested had been the present law, would the congestion not have been prevented ?

Mr GROOM - It would not.

Mr Charlton - Could the President not have appointed other Judges?

Mr GROOM - No ; there is a difficulty in arranging the work. Mr. Justice Powers resigned, and the Government made every effort when Mr. Justice Starke was appointed to his place as Deputy.

Mr Charlton - Even with Mr. Justice Starke it is evident that there are not sufficient Judges. Why should not the President appoint others?

Mr GROOM - We are taking power expressly to meet that position.

Mr Charlton - I wish to leave the appointments to the President.

Mr GROOM - I think that, on the whole, the appointment of Deputies for a definite term should rest with the Executive. As to the congestion, I remind honorable members of another Bill that has to comebefore us to provide for the creation of an Arbitration Tribunal for Public Service cases. I think there are fifty-one cases, thirty-three of which are connected with the Public Service alone. Mr. Fenton. - Is there to be a separate Court?

Mr GROOM - At the present time the Public Service is under a separate Act, but one of the arbitration Judges does the work. We are keeping practically the same law, but appointing a special arbitrator to take that kind of work only; and this, I think, will relieve the congestion.

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