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Thursday, 12 October 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - Before Senator St. Ledger puts his threat into execution, I wish to quote a passage from Craies' Statute Law, second edition, page 350 -

It being, then, the general rule of law that Statutes are not to operate retrospectively, we have now to consider under what circumstances this general rule has been departed from, and to examine the grounds, so far as they can be ascertained, for such departure.

(1)   Sometimes it is expressly enacted that an enactment shall be retrospective ; thus, by 23 and 24 Vic. c. 38, s.12, it is enacted that " clause 32 of 22 and 23 Vict. c. 35, shall operate retrospectively."

(2)   Hut if it is a necessary implication from the language employed that the Legislature intended a particular section to have a retrospective operation, the Courts will give it such an operation. " Baron Parke," said Lord Hatherley in Pardo v Bingham (1870), 4 Ch. App.735, 740, " did not consider it an invariable rule that a Statute could not be retrospective unless so expressed in the very terms of the section which had to be construed, and said that the question in each case was whether the Legislature had sufficiently expressed that intention. In fact, we must look to the general scope and purview of the Statute, and at the remedy sought to be applied, and. consider what was the former state of the law, and what it was that the Legislature contemplated."

There is no language in this clause which implies retrospective action. It is obvious that what we are aiming at is the stoppage of the traffic in these medals. When the Bill becomes an Act, persons who sell medals will be liable to a penalty. But it cannot be so construed that persons who have sold medals in the past will be so liable. Under these circumstances, I ask Senator St. Ledger not to move his amendment, which is clearly unnecessary.

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