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Wednesday, 3 May 1939

Mr STREET (Corangamite) (Minister for Defence) . - The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Brennan) has asked, in effect, for an assurance that the Government will introduce legislation to adopt the relevant portions of the Statute of Westminster. This Ministry has been in existence for less than a week and has not yet had an opportunity to consider the question of the adoption of the Statute of Westminster, but I can assure the committee that early consideration will be given to the matter. I cannot believe that the somewhat fantastic legal difficulties envisaged by the honorable member who submitted the amendment will ever arise. I would not dispute with him on purely legal grounds, but I reiterate that the enactment of the visiting forces legislation is not dependent on the adoption by the Commonwealth of the Statute of Westminster. The necessity for the bill arises from an enactment by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in December, 1931. The Government, considering that the argument presented by the honorable member for Batman has no force, cannot accept has amendment.

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