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Tuesday, 30 May 1939

Mr MENZIES - It is not the practice to answer questions of law under the guise of questions without notice.

Mr WARD - Will the Prime Minister state whether there has been any alteration in the constitutional position since he, as legal representative of the Shell Oil Company, successfully challenged the right of a royal commission to examine the books of account, balance sheets, &c, of the major oil companies in order to ascertain their profits?

Mr MENZIES - I was not aware that I had successfully challenged the jurisdiction of a royal commission on that point. It was a considerable number of years ago, and I have forgotten. I shall try to recall what occurred on that occasion, and let the honorable member know. However, I can assure the honorable member that the Constitution, as a document, has not changed since that time, but the interpretation of the Constitution does, from time to time, suffer from what I may describe as fluctuations.

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