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Tuesday, 21 May 1957


Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) .- The words proposed to be deleted ought to be deleted, in my opinion, because if they are left in they will superimpose upon the administrative function words of a judicial type which involve explicit interpretation by a court. The person to be satisfied is a person who is exercising an administrative function, namely, the collector. The collector must be satisfied, if the words are eliminated. I feel that the proper source of satisfaction ought to be with the collector, not with a court of appeal. If the words are left in, a court of appeal must be satisfied. Let me give an analogy: If a court considers a matter in which damages are at issue and awards a specific amount of damages, it is open to the person who is pursuing his claim to appeal on the basis that the damages awarded were either insufficient or excessive. The appeal court will then decide whether or not there is evidence which would reasonably justify the lower court in reaching the decision it in fact reached. So it is in this instance. On appeal, the court of appeal will decide whether or not there were grounds upon which the collector could have been satisfied. His Honour Mr. Justice Webb, of the High Court, in the unreported case of the Canadian Pacific Tobacco Company, has quite clearly delineated the grounds within which the collector must be satisfied and all the matters which must be comprised within the decision on his satisfaction.

There are, I understand, some thirteen other acts in which the form of words proposed by the Government is used. Unless this amendment is carried, I suggest to the committee that it will be necessary to amend all of those other acts because, as the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Joske) has pointed out, there is a fundamental opinion in the law that if you specifically define words on one occasion and do not do so on another occasion, on the occasion on which you do not specifically define them you lessen their effect. It may be that the Government is faced with this proposition: Are these words necessary? If they are necessary, let us accept them and put them in the other thirteen acts as well, but please do not let us insert the words if they are unnecessary, because their insertion will involve a whole lot of other machinery amendments of other acts. If we do not amend those acts, the words used here necessarily will reflect upon the acts in which they are not used. The point made by the honorable member for Balaclava is indeed worthy of real consideration.

It seems to me that the point to be considered here is whether the bondholder is being adequately protected. I think that he is. The truth of the matter is that the words under discussion were inserted in another place at the instance of an individual who, I think, acted of his own accord and not because of representations made by people who required the wording of the bill to be altered. Indeed, the history of the Commonwealth, even before federation, indicates that, in all State enactments, the words used were similar to those that will appear in the bill if the amendment is carried. It must be the fundamental purpose of the Parliament to ensure that the bond-holder is adequately protected, as I believe he will be if the amendment is carried and the words deleted. The words of Webb J., in the Canadian Pacific Tobacco Company case, put the matter beyond doubt.

I therefore support the removal of these words from the clause and I hope that the committee will agree, on the argument presented by the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) and the honorable member for Balaclava, that it is necessary to delete them to save this unfortunate but necessary corollary that if these words are approved, there will be a weakened meaning in thirteen other acts, which will be most undesirable.







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