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Wednesday, 25 August 1920

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister for Works and Railways) . - In the Act as it stands at present there is a section providing for the appointment by the Governor-General of one Deputy President, and the first amendment is to give the Government power to appoint more than one Deputy. The second amendment deals with the tenure of office of the President. Under section 14 of the original Act the Deputy is appointed for the unexpired term of office of the President for the time being, which implies that if the President resigned, died, or vacated his office for any reason, the office of Deputy would cease to exist. The Government desire the office of Deputy President to continue, so that he will hold office during the unexpired period for which the President was originally appointed. If the President was appointed for seven years, and only two years had expired when he resigned, the amendment would enable the Deputy to hold office for the remaining period. The amendment is to prevent a vacancy happening in the office of Deputy President in the event of the President resigning or ceasingto hold office for any reason whatever. The Deputy is to continue to hold office for the remainder of the period for which the President was appointed.

Mr Riley - Will that mean that another President would not be appointed?

Mr GROOM - Not at all. It merely enables the Deputy President to hold office for the remainder of the President's term. If we desired to appoint another Deputy, and the office of the President was not filled, we could do so. Supposing something happened to the President, and we required three Deputies, instead of having to wait, we could appoint Deputies until another President was selected. Obviously a President mustbe appointed at the earliest possible moment in the event of the office being vacated by resignation, death, or other cause.

Mr Ryan - Has this amendment arisen in consequence of recent developments ?

Mr GROOM - No. As a matter of fact, the contingency was discussed some time ago by the Crown Law officers.

Mr Ryan - Then why has it not been included in the memorandum circulated to honorable members?

Mr GROOM - Because the clause had not been drafted, and was not included in the original Act. There are no other reasons apart from those I have given.

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