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Thursday, 4 June 1914

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) . - I do not know what we are to assume from the Minister's closing statement. I suppose it would be ' demanding too much from poor human nature to 'expect that the Government would by this time have had their eyes opened, by what is going on around them, to the necessity of extending the powers of the Federal Parliament to deal with the growing evil of trusts, and lessening the industrial unrest now existent.

Is the Minister's statement to be interpreted to mean that the Government will not only not support the passage of these Bills, but will endeavour to prevent them being dealt with in another place, or being put before the people? The Minister did not make it clear whether that is the position he takes up. One satisfaction which supporters of these measures have at present lies in the fact that whether by the force of reason, or the growth of public opinion, politicians and others who at one time strongly opposed any alteration of the Constitution whatever are being forced to admit the necessity and inevitability of extending the powers of the Federal Parliament. Whereas, at one time, we had to fight all sorts of shadows and shams whenever we spoke of the necessity of extending the powers of the Federal Parliament, our opponents are now being compelled by public opinion to come forward and debate the real substantiality of these proposals, and are no longer able to delude the public by forecasting all sorts of dire evils that may come upon the Commonwealth if extensions of power are conceded. I have here the report of the resolutions, proceedings, and debates of the Inter-State Conference held in Melbourne in March and April of this year. I suppose if one were tq search Australia for the bitterest opponents of the extension of Federal powers, he could find no bitterer than the bulk of the men who constituted that Conference. I make an exception of some, particularly the Premier of Western Australia and his Ministers, because they candidly recognise the necessity and inevitability of the extension of Federal powers, and cordially support it, and want to see it come, as it should come, from the people, and hot through any action by the State Premiers. One has only to read the debates of the Conference to see the position of bitter hostility taken' up by many of the other State Premiers and Ministers. Their attitude is, "We must not give up these powers, because if we do we shall be diminishing our own importance." They are being forced now to reveal their real attitude which is dictated by the fear that they may cut a smaller figure in the public eye if the powers of this Parliament are extended more than they have been in the past. If one wanted a powerful argument as to the necessity of extended powers for this Parliament, one could not look for it in a better place than in this document. What was the reason for the meeting of Premiers? It was because, as they put it themselves, "on certain questions it is desirable in the interests of the States individually and collectively that there should be common action, uniformity of law, and uniformity of administration." That is exactly what the Federal Constitution was intended to give to Australia. Those who framed the Constitution intended that all questions, where it was desirable that there should be uniformity of legislation, administration, and action, should be dealt with by the Federal Parliament. Yet we find these gentlemen in the most contradictor'"' spirit meeting together, so far as the majority of them are concerned, to take combined action to see that the Federal Parliament gets no further powers. On the same day, and almost on the same page of the debate, we find them agreeing .to take 'action to secure uniformity, and from their own statements admitting the almost impossibility of achieving it. One subject of debate this year was the necessity for a uniform standard of foods and drugs - a very necessary and vital matter for the health of the community.. The subject is a hardy annual at these Conferences, and every Premiers/Conference has wasted .pages and pages of debate upon it. On each occasion they have agreed to bring in uniform legislation and take united action on the subject, and yet there are no two States of the Commonwealth to-day that have uniform standards for food and drugs. It is informative to glance over some of the statements made. Mr. Scaddan, who is a good Federalist, says on page 26 -

It is true that some of the regulations that we put forward had eventually to be dropped owing to an adverse vote in the Second Chamber, but at the same time that has not affected the regulations to any great extent, and while at the present time we are having some little difficulty with some traders in the West, the regulations are generally accepted as being in the interests of the community. We want the other States to pass the same legislation as we have passed, so as to have uniform standards and uniform methods of labelling throughout the Commonwealth. Some of the traders in Western Australia objected to Parliament pass ing the legislation I have mentioned, and said, "Wait until the 'other States come in." We thought that if we waited until the lost of the other States came in we -would never have any legislation at all.

Mr. Homburg,the Attorney General for South Australia, spoke as follows

I notice from a perusal of the papers that have been left with me to look over that both the Victorian and New South Wales Governments introduced measures, but neither of them found the assent of the two branches of their Legislatures. On the other hand, when this matter was mooted some years ago, we in South Australia were prepared to confer tha power upon the Federal Parliament to legislate in respect to a uniform standard for foods and drugs for the whole of Australia. When at a previous Conference this matter was mentioned, there appeared to be unanimity of opinion that it was n matter for the Commonwealth to undertake. Subsequently, however, Victoria and New South Wales determined that it was a matter for the States, and at that point the proceedings broke off. South Australia took the view that it was a matter for the Commonwealth.

Mr. Scaddan.; The Commonwealth Government admit they have not the power.

Mr. Homburg.; The Commonwealth Parliament can legislate on the subject if each of the respective States is prepared to concede that power to the Commonwealth. At present the Commonwealth power is limited to making provision in respect to imported foods and drugs. The States have power to provide legislation with respect to foods and drugs manufactured in the various States, but we are in the difficulty that the Commonwealth may exercise its jurisdiction in' respect to imported goods, and limit us to foods and drugs manufactured in our States.

Mr. Holman.; A conference of experts, comprising representatives of the State Government and the Commonwealth, agreed upon standards which have been accepted or which are likely to be accepted by the Federal Government.

Mr. Homburg.; Might I ask the representatives of Victoria and New South Wales what objections they have to handing this matter over to the Commonwealth ?

The President - Very strong objections.

That was Mr. Watt, the Premier of Victoria, but he did not say what the objections were. What objections can there be from the public point of view, seeing that, as Mr. Homburg has pointed out, uniformity is so essential to the health of the community? There can be no objection except the vanity of the politician. Mr. Homburg replied-

The objections have not been shown in the communications passing between the respective States. I have been anxious to learn the objections of New South Wales and Victoria, seeing that the Commonwealth must necessarily exercise an exclusive jurisdiction in respect of imported food, and the States can only have control over the manufactured article.

He then pointed out another difficulty that arises when the States come to deal with this matter -

You may agree on uniformity of legislation to-day, but there is nothing in the world to prevent one of the Australian States passing different legislation next lear, so that you may never be able to maintain that uniformity. You may have Parliaments agreeing upon a standard to-day, and subsequently one of them may make a serious alteration, and hamper manufactures very considerably. That is my reason for suggesting that the Federal Parliament should, with the approval and in consultation with the States, have the power to effect this uniformity.

The President - Would you suggest that course in connexion with gold-buying and footwear, and other similar matters on which uniform legislation is desirable?

Mr. Homburg.; I do not think it would be a bad plan, where the States can agree on a matter which applies to all of them in an equal degree, to allow the Commonwealth to undertake it.

That is a common-sense reply. The other attitude is dictated by the vanity of the politician, who fears to see his position diminished in the public eye. On page 28, Mr. Peake. Premier of South Australia, takes up practically the same position as his colleague. He says -

It appears to be a desirable thing to have uniform standards for foods and drugs, but the difficulty is not so much in providing uniformity as in maintaining it. From the working of the Acts in the different States with regard to foods and drugs, we can see that it is quite possible that under the altered laws of any one State there may be very serious restraint of trade; that is to' say, one State n, 4 fix a standard for certain articles which may be much above or below the uniform standard, and prohibit the importation into that State of anything below that special standard. That might act very much in the way of restraint of trade, shutting out an article produced in one State because it does not conform to the standard in another State..... There should be somebody that would have power to prevent an alteration unless it were agreed to by all the States. Otherwise, I cannot see any advantage in arriving at a resolution. We may decide that a uniform standard is advisable, but we must set up a power that will prevent any State from departing from the uniformity.

How could they do that? The only way in which it could be done would be by giving the Commonwealth Parliament the necessary power. No Parliament of South Australia to-day can say to a future Parliament of that State, " We have passed an Act in agreement with the other States in which we have said that there shall be a uniform standard of food products, and we forbid you to alter it." Each Parliament is a law unto itself, and, as Mr. Homburg pointed out, any subsequent Parliament may depart from a law passed by its predecessor. Mr. Murray, on this subject, said -

There is no need for handing over the mattei to the Commonwealth, because the States can deal effectively with it. There are a great many things wrapped up in this.

Mr. Scaddan.Where uniformity is necessary the Commonwealth can legislate more effectively than the States.

Mr. MURRAY.;I do not admit that. If we surrender this power we surrender a great deal more than the States would feel disposed to surrender. It would mean a tremendous diminution of the power of the States in domestic matters that we desire to maintain.

That is the only argument that is used against the proposal, and what is there in it but the desire that " We," the State Premiers, " have to maintain our power to legislate on this subject, although we know that we cannot legislate upon it effectively, or so as to secure uniformity?" Mr. Hol man said -

We cannot draw a line between the regulation of food, the regulation of footwear, and the regulation of gold buying. All these matters in which we need uniformity are open to the objection that the uniformity may be departed from.

Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - W - We have had an Act dealing with footwear hanging up in the last two or three years in South Australia, waiting for the other States to pass a similar Act.

Senator PEARCE - This is in relation to trade. I take another case in relation to trade. It is admitted on all hands that it is desirable that there should be uniformity in companies law throughout the Commonwealth. What is the present position in this respect? The Commonwealth has the power to pass a companies law dealing with the registration of companies, and their operations Inter-State. 'In addition, the State Parliaments have the power to pass companies laws dealing with the registration of companies and with their operations Intra-State. In order, therefore, that the whole field of this legislation may be covered properly in Australia, we require to have seven companies laws.

Senator Rae - We already have six. Senator PEARCE. - Yes, because the Commonwealth has not, so far, legislated in this direction. At present part of the field is not covered, and this is the part which Commonwealth legislation could cover. We have to contemplate the possibility of the Commonwealth passing a seventh companies law, and we know that the probability is that, instead of helping trade, that would serve to hinder it. Trade to-day does not know any geographical boundaries. The trader in "Victoria registered under the companies law of this State will not sell his goods only in Victoria. He will sell them wherever in the Commonwealth he can secure a buyer. There is no restriction upon his selling his goods anywhere. We have made Australia one compartment for the purpose of trade. The only restriction is the Tariff restriction and the inspection at the geographical boundaries. Whilst we have done that we continue the practice, for the purpose of the laws governing trade, of cutting up Australia into six compartments. The thing is so childish that it is beyond our comprehension to understand why reasoning men are prepared to continue.

Senator Oakes - Does that not apply to almost all matters of Government administration ?

Senator PEARCE - We have men on the Government side who pride themselves upon being business men, and yet, because they fear a Labour Government gaining possession of the Treasury bench with these extended powers, they are prepared to champion this absolute confusion rather than agree to any amendment of the Constitution which would bring it to an end. They adopt this course, although their own common sense and their knowledge of business compels them in their heart of hearts to recognise the absolute necessity of the proposals we make.

Senator Oakes - Does not the honorable senator's argument apply to every Government administrative act, and might he not contend that we should have uniform laws governing education, land legislation, and everything else?

Senator PEARCE - No, it does not.For the purpose of land legislation Australia is not one geographical whole.

Senator Oakes - Is it not one land?

Senator PEARCE - No; so far as laud legislation is concerned, we might have all kinds of arbitrary distinctions made without hindering the development of the country. We might divide Australia not only into six, but into sixty different compartments, and have sixty different sets of land laws without hindering the development of the Commonwealth.

Senator Oakes - By local government?

Senator PEARCE - Yes, and by doing so it is quite possible that we should assist rather than retard the development of- Australia. But we have made Australia for the purpose of trade one, and having made the trade area one we should make the law that governs that trade one.

Senator Oakes - How much would the honorable senator leave to the State Parliaments if he secured for this Parliament all the powers he desires for it?

Senator PEARCE - There would still be left quite sufficient to fully occupy the time of the State Parliaments with advantage to the communities they are governing. I do not know of any State in the Commonwealth in which there is not a demand from various sections of the community for legislation which has never yet been fully met by the Legislatures of the States.

Senator Oakes - And never will be. Senator PEARCE. - The honorable senator's admission shows that there will be plenty left for the State Parliaments to deal with when all matters of Federal concern are handed over to the Federal. Parliament. I come now to deal with the question of industrial unrest. On this question we may clear our minds of party influence and excitement, and frankly recognise that industrial unrest does exist, though we may agree to differ as to the cause of it. Honorable senators opposite try to make the electors believe that certain agitators have a monetary interest in promoting it. Honorable senators on this side know from practical experience how absurd and nonsensical that is. We know that it is due to the deep-rooted desire in the breast of every educated human being to better his condition in life. Wherever we find an educated community, we find a restless and discontented people. We find people who are not content with things as they are, and do not believe that what was good enough for their fathers is good enough for them. We find people animated by discontent with existing conditions striving to better their conditions.

Senator McGregor - With the knowledge that they can be bettered.

Senator PEARCE - Yes, and in the belief that they know how they can be bettered. That discontent is to be found in all countries, and the more highly a community is educated the more discontented the people are with the mediteval systems from which we are in these days emerging. The gentlemen who profess to believe that industrial unrest is promoted by a few paid agitators are befooled themselves, or are trying to befool the public.

Senator Oakes - If the honorable senator could guarantee industrial peace there would not be half the men living on the unions that there are to-day.

Senator PEARCE - When the honorable senator speaks of men living on unions, I do not know what he is referring to. If he refers to the paid secretaries of unions, I have only to say that if ever the time comes when I am given the choice of accepting a position as the paid secretary of a union or going to crack stones on the roadsides, I shall choose the latter.

Senator Millen - That is a very serious reflection upon the unions.

Senator PEARCE - Yes. I daresay I should have an easier time cracking stones. I have had some experience as the unpaid secretary of a union, and from what I know of the kicks and cuffs which an unpaid secretary receives, I can scarcely say what my position would have been like if I had been a paid secretary. Those who think that the paid secretaries of unions have a blissful experience speak from their ignorance. Those who speak from knowledge and experience in the matter know that these men render very valuable services for the money they receive, and work very hard to earn it.

Senator Oakes - If we could guarantee peace throughout the world, there would be no defence necessary in the way of armies.

Senator PEARCE - I cannot guarantee peace throughout the world. I am not a magician, and cannot bring about the millennium. I am pointing out that a state of industrial unrest exists in every country where education has progressed. The problem which, as practical men, we have to deal with is the legislation we should pass in order to adjust the differences in the industrial world as best we can and as well as we can. We have in this country - in the States and in the Commonwealth- endeavoured to meet the situation by passing wages boards legislation or industrial conciliation and arbitration laws. I have never made a secret of the fact that I look upon both as mere palliatives, and not as panaceas, for all the evils of industrialism ; but I am prepared to admit that while, like all human laws, they fail many times, they are the best means yet discovered by the wit of man to, at any rate, temper some of the absurdities of industrial warfare by bringing about a more reasonable method for their settlement than was provided by the strike and lock-out. As a community we have reached a stage when we can agree generally upon that. But what do we do? We say to the Commonwealth Parliament, " You shall have power to deal with industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State," and we say to the State Parliaments, " You shall have power to deal with industrial disputes within the limits of your State." Then we get the High Court to determine what these things mean, and, as one of the Judges of that Court has said, " We have had a mass of decisions which have landed us in a Serbonian bog." What is the way out of it? Here we find that the State Premiers are in this bog up to their necks, and they were forced to the conclusion that there were only three ways out of it. It will be found that in the pages of the report of the Conference, from 144 onward, the members of the Conference expressed three differing opinions. One was expressed by Mr. Scaddan. He says that the way out of the bog is to give the Commonwealth Parliament complete power to deal with all industrial disputes. He stood alone. Another view was represented by Mr. Holman, who says that the way out of the bog is to give the Commonwealth Parliament complete power to deal with industrial arbitration. He proposes a limitation upon the industrial power which Mr. Scaddan would give this Parliament.

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator think that Mr. Holman was influenced by a desire to get rid of a troublesome subject?

Senator PEARCE - I give Mr. Holman, as I give the other State Premiers, credit for the highest motives. Mr. Barnes and others say that the way out of the bog is to take from the Commonwealth Parliament the powers it now possesses in this matter, and leave the State Parliaments the sole power to deal with it. I believe that either one of these two courses represents the only way out of the difficulty. So long as we have two authorities dealing with this question we shall experience trouble in legal interpretation, and shall encounter a veritable Serbonian bog. The fringes of it may alter from day to day as the Justice gives his decisions, but the bog will remain all the time. Talk about taking away power from the Commonwealth Parliament! Does any honorable senator believe that a referendum with that object in view would have any chance of being accepted by the people? We all know that it would not. When it is proposed that the powers of this Parliament shall be extended all sorts of bogies are trotted out. For instance, we have been told that such a course would mean the payment of a uniform wage throughout Australia. Mr. Holman destroyed that bogy by pointing out that in New South Wales, where there is only one Arbitration Court, a uniform wage has not resulted. On the contrary, that tribunal gives varying awards in different districts according to the cost of production in each. Then it was urged that one Court would never be able to deal with all these disputes. In reply Mr. Holman reminded these critics that if this Parliament were armed with the necessary power there would be nothing to prevent it legalizing the Wages Boards of the States which are already in existence. But, assuming that the Commonwealth Parliament did not alter a single tittle of the States' industrial legislation, that it took over the Industrial Disputes Act of Queensland, the Industrial Disputes Act of New South Wales, and the Wages Boards of Victoria, we should not then experience a clashing of decisions, because this Parliament would say to a certain trade, " Your disputes will be settled by a Wages Board," and to another organization, " Your disputes will be settled by this Court," and to still another trade, " Your disputes will be settled by that Court."

Senator de Largie - We could extend our own arbitration scheme then.

Senator PEARCE - But even that might not be necessary. This Parliament could create fifty Courts if it chose, or no Courts at all. It could do anything that it thought would fit the circumstances. I would also remind honorable senators that this Parliament is just as open to the pressure of public opinion as are the State Parliaments. My honorable friends opposite, when they attempt - as they did attempt at the last election - to make this industrial question a fight between Wages Boards and Arbitration Courts, are trying to throw dust into the eyes of the people.

Senator de Largie - The underlying principle of both is the same.

Senator PEARCE - Of course it is. I was strongly tempted to quote a large number of the utterances of State Ministers on this question. I hesitate to do so, because they are very lengthy, and, after all, honorable senators will have an opportunity of perusing them for themselves. But the fact remains that by a majority the State Ministers have said, " We will not consent to hand over any power to the Commonwealth. If we hold any opinion at all, it is that the Commonwealth Parliament should hand over certain powers to us."

Senator Turley - The public will not have a chance of seeing those records.

Senator PEARCE - Coming to the question of .a uniform companies law, I find that Mr. Mackinnon said -

I desire now to present the reports of the Legal Committee, consisting of Mr. Hall, Mr. Blair, Mr. Homburg, and myself. On the subject of uniform company law the committee recommends the following resolution : -

That in the opinion of this Conference it is desirable there should be a uniform company law throughout the 'Commonwealth, and that this law should follow the English Companies Act as far as is practicable.

The Attorney-General of New South Wales to forthwith prepare a Bill for submission to the Attorney-General of each State, with a view to its early enactment by each of the States.

That motion was agreed to. I need not recapitulate what the Premiers themselves said with regard to uniformity of legislation in the matter of food and drugs. They found that their Legislative Councils vetoed their regulations even after an Act had been passed. In regard to the Meat Trust, they passed the following resolution : -

That the States respectively continue inquiries into the alleged existence and effects of a meat combine in Australia, and also continue to consult together and interchange information 'thereon, and, if necessary, take combined legislative action to regulate the operations of the alleged and similar trusts.

They will fight to the death against this Parliament being armed with power to pass one law which can effectively deal with that Trust, and, at the same time, they will fight for the rest of their political existence to get twelve Houses of Parliament to pass laws dealing with it. What is the reason for this except that they fear that if the Commonwealth Parliament were clothed with the necessary power the prestige of the State Parliaments' would be lowered ?

Senator Stewart - It is a question of £ s. d., chiefly.

Senator PEARCE - In regard to the hall-marking of jewellery, Mr. Mackinnon moved -

That, in the opinion of this Conference, it is desirable that the States should make proper provisions for the hall-marking of gold and similar jewellery by uniform legislation in each of the States; the Attorney-General of South Australia to forthwith prepare a Bill for submission to the Attorney-General of each State, with a view to its early enactment by each of the States.

Why should we not have one law for the whole of the States? What reason can be urged against the adoption of that course, except that the Conservatives of Australia, who fear this Parliament because it is elected on the basis of adult suffrage, know that at present the Legislative Councils of the various States - especially where those bodies are elected on a property qualification - have the final say in the making of their laws, and will take care that their class interests are guarded ? In regard to gold buying, the Conference decided -

That it is desirable there should be uniform legislation with regard to the purchase and sale of gold, silver, and precious stones throughout the Commonwealth, and that such legislation should follow the Acts of West Australia and Victoria; the Attorney-General of Victoria to forthwith prepare a Bill for submission to the Attorney-General of each State, with a view to its early enactment by each of the States.

Again, why should not this Parliament be endowed with the necessary power to pass one Act for the whole of Australia ? Coming to the question of footwear regulation, the Conference affirmed -

That it is desirable that there should be uniform legislation with regard to the manufacture and sale of footwear throughout the Commonwealth, and that the law officers of New South Wales and Victoria consult together and prepare a Bill to regulate such manufacture and sale for submission to the Parliaments of all the States. The conduct of such matter to be with New South Wales.

One has only to look at this matter to see the ridiculous position that we occupy. The Commonwealth, by its legislation, now says, " You shall not put cardboard into children's shoes and sell them as shoes made of leather. If they contain cardboard you must mark on them that they contain cardboard." But suppose that these goods are imported into" Western Australia. When once they have passed out of the Customs anything may happen to them.

Senator Millen - In the absence of State legislation?

Senator PEARCE - Although the consumer has been protected from these fraudulent goods, in the absence of State legislation the local manufacturer cannot be protected from competition with similar goods which are manufactured in other States. Consequently the States say that they want uniform legislation in this matter. They affirm that without it the fraudulent trader in a State where there is no such legislation possesses an advantage over the trader in a State where there is such legislation. As a matter of fact, the argument has been used in the Legislative Councils of some of the States, " We ought not to pass this legislation, because, if we do, our manufacturers will be disadvantaged as compared with the manufacturers in a neighbouring State." The Premiers, therefore, meet together and say, "This ought to be done, but we will not do it unless we all do it at once." But those who are willing to-do it find that the Legislative Councils in their States are unwilling to do it. In Western Australia, for example, the Legislative Assembly passed a Pood and Drugs Act, but the Legislative Council vetoed the regulations made under it. So the Premiers met again the following year and asked each other, " How did you get on?" As a matter -of fact, they all started off the same mark, but all their attempted legislation met with the same fate, with the result that they are now farther from uniformity than ever. Yet they say that they will not hand over to the Federal Parliament the necessary power to enable it to deal with these matters. Year after year this farce is perpetuated because of the fear that this Parliament would use such a power unwisely and unjustly. They feel that whilst the power is retained by the State Parliaments they can rely upon the Legislative Councils to set the interests of the people on one side, thereby allowing children to be poisoned with adulterated infants' food rather than permit this Parliament to pass an effective law preventing it. For the same reason they are willing to allow children's health to be injured as the result of wearing adulterated footwear. Once again these Bills are before this Par liament. I hope that it will not be long before they are before the people, and there is not the slightest doubt that when they are submitted again they will be carried. Seeing that in the short space of two years a deficiency of 250,000 was brought down to a deficiency, in one case, of under 10,000, it is a pretty satisfactory sign of the education of public opinion.

Senator Long - Leaving aside the 114,000 informal votes.

Senator PEARCE - Yes. We have no right to count in the informal votes, because we can only speculate as to how they were intended to be cast. This indicates that at the next time of asking the Bills will become law. It may be that they do not embody all that we should ask for. At any rate, we believe that they embody the powers which the people of Australia are prepared to give at the present time. Even when the Constitution lias been altered in this way, it may still be found necessary to amend it. I am one of those who believe that from time to time, as it is found necessary, we should take power to alter the Constitution. I do not believe that what is right to-day is right for all time, because what is right to-day may be a hideous wrong twenty-five years hence. The position in which we find ourselves is that we, unhappily, are governed by the dead hand of the past. We have unfortunately a cast-iron Constitution, which the High Court lias not seen fit to extend and to bring up-to-date in the same way as the Supreme Court of the United States did in regard to the Constitution of that country. I venture to say that if the Supreme Court of the United States had taken up the same attitude in the interpretation of the Constitution as our High Court has seen fit to take, there would have been several revolutions before this time in that country. If there is one man whom the United States has to thank that there has been no revolution, that man is Chief Justice Marshall. But, as we have not got that interpretation placed on our Constitution, we have to get the people to amend it so as to give the power which we find to be necessary. I trust that not only will these Bills pass, despite the opposition of the Government, but that, should another place not deal with the Bills, when the time comes for His Majesty's representative to be asked to place them before the people, he will accede to the request, recognising that it is in the interests of the people that they should be given every opportunity to be consulted as to whether, in their opinion, the Constitution should be amended in the way indicated.

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