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Tuesday, 21 May 1957

Mr JOSKE (Balaclava) .- I support the amendment. The reason for this amendment is that great confusion will be caused if the words inserted in the clause in another place are allowed to remain. The word " satisfaction " appears in this act and in similar acts in many places without the accompaniment that has been inserted in the bill in the Senate. If the House allows that amendment to remain in the law, the inference will be that wherever the word " satisfaction " occurs elsewhere it will mean satisfaction without any reasonable grounds whatsoever. Both sides of this House, as I understand it, agree that the satisfaction should be based upon reasonable grounds; but the amendment made in another place, while making the meaning positively clear and unnecessarily clear in this proposed section of the act, will throw absolute doubt on whether " satisfaction " where it elsewhere appears means satisfaction based on reasonable grounds or otherwise.

The word " satisfaction ", where a power is given in satisfaction, is well understood in law, despite what my learned and honorable friend, the member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), may say. The word " satisfaction " means that a power given to the satisfaction of the person must be exercised bona fide and not capriciously. In other words, it must be exercised honestly and on reasonable grounds, because if there are no reasonable grounds for its exercise, then it is undoubtedly exercised capriciously.

I do not understand the case cited as differing in any sense from that, because in the passage read by the honorable member for Werriwa there was a phrase that no doubt a Minister must always act reasonably. In addition, the phrase " bona fide " was used. As to the honorable member's point that Mr. Justice Webb's decision has not been reported, I would be very surprised if His Honour's decision was reported. I have had some slight experience as an editor of law reports over twenty years, and it is not the practice to report cases that deal with matters of law which are positively clear and for which there is ample authority already existing in the law reports. This is one of those cases and I have no doubt that the editors of the " Argus Law Reports " and the " Commonwealth Law Reports" considered that His Honour's decision did not add in any way to what had been frequently declared before. Because I believe that the amendment introduced in another place will do a great deal of harm and will confuse the matter, and because I believe that the amendment now proposed will straighten out the law and will achieve what the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) desires to achieve, I support the amendment.

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