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Thursday, 15 July 1915


Senator KEATING (Tasmania) .- " I thank the honorable members of theSenate for according me the opportunity of continuing my remarks.

Much of what I said last evening with regard to the proposed amendment of the trade and commerce provision of the Constitution will apply with equal force to each of the other proposed amendments. All that I then said with regard to the difficulties which presented themselves to ' my mind as arising out of a grant of concurrent legislative power to this Parliament and the State Parliaments will arise in a greater or less degree in respect to each of these proposed endowments of power. But with regard to the trade and commerce power, I think that those difficulties will necessarily be much more appreciable than they will with regard to any of the other proposed increases of power. I do not propose to go over what I said last night, further than to remark that if this Parliament enjoys with each of the States a concurrent legislative power in regard to those matters, there will crop up necessarily cases of conflicting laws. There will be the necessity imposed on citizens of inquiring what laws are governing their every-day transactions, whether a State law or a Federal law, or both. If there happens to be both a State and a Federal law governing certain transactions, a further duty is involved, and that is to ascertain whether the two laws are in conflict on any points. If they are not in conflict, both will apply; but if they are in conflict in any particular, only the Federal law will apply in that particular.

It may be inferred from what I have said that I believe that there should be some division of power and responsibility. If a Parliament has a legislative power, it is accompanied by a legislative responsibility. I believe that the proper system of Federal government is what was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution, and that is a proper division of power. So far, there has been a line of demarcation between the Federal and the State power. The Federal power, so far as trade and commerce and other matters are concerned, has embraced all matters of a general Australian character, of an Inter-State character, and all matters of a foreign or extra-Australian character. On the other hand, the State power has been bounded by the territory of the State itself. I agree that, in its consequences, that is a division of power which, in certain circumstances, is attended by anomalies; but I believe that, generally speaking, it is the best division of power we can adopt. It is not an artificial division, as has sometimes been said. It is a clear line of demarcation - within the State all belongs to the State Parliament, outside the State itself matters in relation to other States and the outside world " come within the province of' the Federal Parliament. We have very often failed to realize the full extent of our trade and commerce power. It covers every transaction, bargaining, selling, buying, agreeing to buy, and, in fact, every negotiation leading ultimately to such a transaction. The ordinary intercourse between buyer and seller in the most remote township of any State of the Commonwealth is a subject of trade or commerce, so far as the legislative power is concerned. It has often been thought that our powers, by reason of the fact that they deal only with matters that are Inter-State or foreign, have been very limited indeed. A few years ago, when the present Attorney-General occupied a similar position in a previous Ministry, he was asked by his colleague, the then PostmasterGeneral, a question arising out of a deputation that waited upon the latter, and was composed of representatives of Tasmania in both Houses of the Federal Parliament, and of both political parties. It had been urged upon the PostmasterGeneral by the members of the deputation that steps should be taken to improve the steam-ship communication between Tasmania and the mainland. At that deputation, I asked that the Postmaster-General would refer to his colleague the AttorneyGeneral the question- of. the constitutional competence of the Federal Government to themselves provide, own, and operate, ' a line of Inter-State steamers. The Minister agreed to submit that question to his colleague, and did so. The AttorneyGeneral gave his opinion, and Ministers then in the Senate, at my request, agreed to table that opinion in the Library, -where it remained for some time. The Attorney-General, rightly, as I think, advised that as the Constitution exists at present it is perfectly competent for the Commonwealth Government to establish, own, and control a means of Inter-State communication.


Senator Ready - Was not that effectually prevented by the action of the Government, which the honorable senator supported, in making a contract with the Shipping Combine for seven years?


Senator KEATING - I wish the honorable senator would keep -jo the issue. I am now dealing with a constitutional question. Whether the Government to which he refers acted rightly or wrongly in entering into that contract has nothing to do with the question with which I am dealing now.


Senator Ready - It was a shocking scandal.


Senator KEATING - Let it be dealt with in its proper place, and at the proper time. I am contending that we hardly realize what are our powers under the Constitution as it exists at present. I have always maintained, and the present Attorney-General, in the opinion he gave, confirmed my contention, that the Commonwealth Government, under the Constitution as it stands, may establish, operate, and control any means or system of Inter-State communication for the purpose of traffic, or the transport of .passengers or mails. That is a power which is vested in the Commonwealth Government to-day.


Senator Guthrie - Why did not the Government of which the honorable senator was a member take advantage of that power ?


Senator KEATING - I am dealing with the Constitution, and the need for its amendment, and not with any political question at all.


Senator Ready - This was a serious political question for Tasmania.


Senator O'Keefe - Does the honorable senator say that the Constitution, as it exists at present, gives the power to the Commonwealth Government to enter into trade in the way of shipping?


Senator KEATING - To establish a line of communication.


Senator O'Keefe - And charge fares?


Senator KEATING - The question was answered by the present Attorney-General in the way I have stated, and that is the opinion held in the United States in the interpretation of the similar power there.


Senator Findley - There is no doubt that the Commonwealth Government could establish a line of steam-ships for their own services. No one denies that.


Senator KEATING - For carrying on an Inter-State service in connexion with business.


Senator Senior - They could not carry produce.


Senator KEATING - They could, and also in connexion with defence.


Senator O'Keefe - Could they charge fares to the public and become general carriers ?


Senator KEATING - That is another part of the question.


Senator O'Keefe - That is the only question .


Senator KEATING - This power of the Commonwealth to establish such a line of steam-ships had been challenged.


Senator Findley - Never in regard to our own services.


Senator KEATING - The absence of any such complete power on the part of the Commonwealth Government was put forward as one of the reasons for some of the proposed amendments of the Constitution when they were submitted on previous occasions. The question, as I have explained, was submitted to the Attorney-General by the PostmasterGeneral of the day, and he gave an absolute unqualified opinion which was tabled in the Library in the terms I have stated. I have mentioned this to show that we have not always realized the extent of our present powers. Because, occasionally, in connexion with the line of demarcation that at present exists, anomalies have arisen, we have been too apt to rush to the conclusion that we are exceedingly powerless, while we have not surveyed the full extent of our legislative powers.

With regard to the second of the. proposed amendments respecting corporations, what I have contended as to the consequences of concurrent power will also apply. It was in respect to these amendments that, some sessions ago in another place, the Liberal party offered the Government of the day to agree to a certain amendment. That offer was not met. That is the matter to which Senator Long referred last night when he questioned me on the subject. There is one of the strongest of objections to the proposed amendment with regard to corporations.


Senator Guthrie - Who objects?


Senator KEATING - It is an inherent objection. It is an objection that any one may take, and I am taking it now. The inherent objection is that it will bring about a discrimination. The Bill provides -

Section fifty-one of the Constitution is altered by omitting from paragraph (XX.) the words " foreign corporations, and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth,"

We have already realized that our power under the Constitution in that regard is limited as shown in the High Court decision. In one of the cases brought before that Court, it has been shown that that power is limited to a greater extent than we anticipated. Now it is proposed to strike out those words and insert in their stead - " Corporations," including -

(a)   the creation, dissolution, regulation, and control of corporations;

(b)   corporations formed under the law of a State, including their dissolution, regulation, and control; but not including municipal or governmental corporations, or any corporation formed solely for religious, charitable, scientific, or artistic purposes, and not for the acquisition of gain -by the corporation or its members: and

(c)   foreign corporations, including their regulation and control.

The part to which exception may be taken, and which I am now taking exception to, is the use of those words " regulation and control." If our power extended simply to the creation and dissolution of corporations, I think it would meet all that is required. But now we are asking for a power, not merely in respect of the creation and dissolution of corporations, but for their regulation and control while in existence. I will come directly to the reasons why I think this is objectionable. It is obviously a great advantage for this. Parliament to have the power to make laws with regard to the creation and dissolution of companies, so that the laws may be uniform throughout the Commonwealth, and so that the provisions with regard toflotation, the issue of prospectuses and matters made public by those promoting companies, the registration and the holding of shares, shall, as far as practicable, be one and the same for the whole Commonwealth.


Senator Guthrie - You would allow a bad corporation to exist.


Senator KEATING - Let me come to that later on. It is obviously an advantage that we should have what is called a uniform " company law" throughout the Commonwealth. But at present the company laws of the various States make provision as to how a company shall be originated, promoted, formed, registered, dissolved. These laws are in actual operation, but they do not deal with the actual control of the company's activities during its existence. But we are providing for something more than the creation and dissolution of companies. We are providing for their regulation and control, and we are seeking to give this Parliament power to deal with the activities of companies when this Parliament would not have the power to similarly deal with a private firm or individual engaged, perhaps, in the same enterprise, and probably a competitor of those companies. That is where discrimination will occur, and that was referred to by Mr. Justice Higgins in one of hi3 judgments. In a case that came before him it was urged that, under the Constitution as it now stands, the Federal Parliament had supreme legislative power over, not merely the formation and dissolution of companies, but over their operations. But Mr. Justice Higgins combated that view by saying that, if that were the case, this Parliament could, by virtue of its powers in respect of companies, so regulate and control them that it could legislate that every director of a company, or of a certain class of company, should be a teetotaller; and that this Parliament could legislate in spheres of activity from which it is at present shut out, by reason of the fact that, if the contention held good, its control of companies would be absolute. That is the power which we are here and now asking for, although I do not say that we are asking that it shall be exercised in that way.

We would still have concurrent powers with the States. The States could still legislate, and the Federal Parliament could legislate, and so long as our legislation did not conflict, each would operate; but when they did conflict, the legislation of this Parliament, wherever conflicting, would, of course, override that of the States. Then again would arise those difficulties that I described last night in relation to the concurrent power with regard to trade and commerce. I think the amendment dealing with industrial matters is altogether too comprehensive. It goes too far. I realize, in relation to this, more than in relation to any other power, that the State Parliaments would necessarily be very slow to exercise their concurrent legislative power in this domain at all.


Senator Findley - They would possess it all the same.


Senator KEATING - They would, but it being only a concurrent power, I am inclined to think it would often be put forward as an excuse by State authorities that, while they had the power, they hesitated to use it, because it might so happen that the Federal Parliament would pass legislation the effect of which would be to override the State, laws. Then the people who were interested might turn to the Federal authority and would, perhaps, be told that their particular class of grievance existed in only one portion of the Commonwealth, and that the Commonwealth Parliament would not enter upon legislation which would have to apply to 6he whole of the Commonwealth. I am afraid, therefore, that the people seeking remedial legislation would too often be between pill aland post. These are my views with regard to one of the difficulties of concurrent legislative power.


Senator Senior - That is the complaint to-day.


Senator KEATING - If, on the other hand, the State Parliaments did not exercise their legislative power with regard to industrial matters, but left it to the Commonwealth Parliament, or if there were a disposition on the part of the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate exhaustively upon industrial matters as this amendment would empower it to do, I can see nothing but congestion of work and responsibility in this Parliament.


Senator Bakhap - Like that of the Imperial Parliament.


Senator KEATING - The amount of work and responsibility which will fall on this Parliament will be such as to be humanly impossible of achievement if we seek to deal with all the industrial affairs of each of the States. We are going to assume a responsibility which, however well-intentioned and goodhearted we may be, we shall find ourselves physically and humanly unable to deal with properly.


Senator Senior - You think it is easier for six different States to pass a similar law than for one Parliament to do it?


Senator KEATING - The laws need not be similar; in fact, I should hope that they would not be similar ; but that the legislation upon these matters in the several States would be an expression of the actualities in those States, which in so many respects are diverse by reason of their geographical positions, climate, and other conditions.


Senator Watson - I think you are a bit downhearted on this matter.


Senator KEATING - I am not downhearted. I have given the matter the most sincere and careful consideration, and I think, honestly, that that is the position in regard to concurrent legisla-' t,ion. It is full of pitfalls and dangers of which we may lose sight. There is the difficulty that grievances which require legislation will very often go unremedied, by reason of the fact that either Parliament may be expecting the other to deal with it, or that either Parliament may leave it to the other. If the work be cast on to this Parliament, as some honorable members and honorable senators and members of the public seem to desire, we shall be clogged and congested with work and unable to give it that attention, consideration, and sympathetic treatment that its importance to the community warrants.

The same applies with regard to trusts. I can only repeat the arguments I have previously used as to the extension of our power over industrial matters. One could deal at length with any one of these questions, but I am taking each of them .briefly and broadly, speaking, as I said earlier, only in order that it might not be thought that silence on my part meant acquiescence in their passage through Parliament.

It will be noted that the railway disputes provision is in terms the same as it was in 1913. It was proposed then that this Parliament should have power to deal with conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes in relation to employment in the railway services of the States. The High Court has decided that we have not that power under the Constitution as it at present stands, because action on our part in that direction would be interference with a State instrumentality. We are endeavouring now to have inserted in the Constitution an express power to deal with that State instrumentality in relation to conciliation and arbitration. We were asked to pass that in 1913 in, I think, the same words. Singularly enough, when, in 1913, we were asked to amend the trade and commerce provision, those who drafted the amendments' inserted the limitation to which I referred last night - trade and commerce generally, but not including trade and commerce on railways the property of a State, except in so far as it was Inter-State or external trade. All we could infer from that was that, when dealing with the trade and commerce amendment, the Government hesitated at taking a trade and commerce power which would affect trade and commerce on the State railways, and that at some later date, or, at any rate, at some different date, in dealing with the conciliation and arbitration power, that consideration did not appeal to them or was overlooked. When addressing the electors in 1913, I said the Government had shown a reasonable and justifiable hesitation in dealing with trade and commerce on the State railways, but that, perhaps because they did not give attention to the conciliation and arbitration amendment at the same time or under similar circumstances, that consideration had, in regard to industrial disputes on State railways, apparently escaped their attention. The Government have now harmonized the two proposals, because we are asked to pass an amendment giving the Commonwealth Parliament full power over trade and commerce without limitation. Obviously that is the corollary to adopting an amendment such as is now before us in relation to conciliation and arbitration on the State railways. This goes to show that between 1913 and 1915 the need for an amendment of the provisions then submitted has again in this case suggested itself, and such need will continue to suggest itself periodically so long as we follow this method of amending the Constitution.


Senator Watson - Have we to wait until we have reached the summit before we begin to amend the Constitution ?


Senator KEATING - I do not say that we must wait until we have attained perfection, but I do say that we should adopt the best means of attaining it. The methods we have adopted are not calculated to assure or reach perfection at the earliest possible stage. There are other methods which the Standing Orders will not permit me to' discuss on this motion. .


Senator Watson - But there is nothing irregular in this method?


Senator KEATING - There is nothing irregular in it, but it is far from the best

Whatever method we do adopt the proposal will, of course, have to pass both Houses. My suggestion is that before we arrive at this stage we should equip ourselves for the task much better than we can under existing circumstances.


Senator Russell - Is this another weakness of the Constitution?


Senator KEATING - No.

The concluding amendment relating to monopolies differs from the proposal of 1913, which provided simply for the nationalization of monopolies engaged in the supply of "services." The present proposal is to nationalize monopolies engaged in the supply of "goods or the supply of services." There was an obvious defect in the earlier proposal from the point of view of its promoters, and I drew attention to it on the platform. My interpretation was challenged, but I think it was admitted afterwards by those who challenged me that I was right. The fact that the Government have now supplied the words which I said then were necessary to effect its own wishes goes to show that the Government themselves think that the earlier proposal was from their own point of view defective. The present proposal is defective to another very serious degree. It provides that the section " shall not apply to any industry or business conducted or carried on by the Government of a State or any public authority constituted under a State." We recently had the experience of the New South Wales Government becoming the monopolist of wheat in its own State, and by reason of that refusing to sell to certain persons in other States.


Senator Bakhap - Shame !


Senator KEATING - I am not discussing the merits or demerits of the case, but there is the position.. The action of the State was challenged by the Commonwealth in the High Court, and we believed that it could be upset as being contrary to the Constitution. We thought the Constitution provided that upon the establishment of uniform duties of Customs and Excise, trade and commerce and intercourse throughout the Commonwealth should be free. The High Court decided that the action of the State was valid, but it did not decide anything in relation to the provision in our Constitution as to freedom of Inter-State trade. The effect ' of its judgment was to declare that a State has the right - sometimes called the right of eminent domain - to acquire any property within ' its borders, and to become the sole owner of it. It had that right before Federation, and it has that right to-day. It will still have that right, even if these proposed amendments of our Constitution be adopted by the electors. If a State has acquired a monopoly of the wheat within its borders, the adoption of the proposed amendments will not have the effect of compelling it to sell. It cannot be forced to sell. The provl-sion in our Constitution relating to this matter sets out that trade, commerce, and intercourse throughout the Commonwealth shall be free. But a State cannot be compelled to sell. If it could, that would not be Free Trade.


Senator Watson - Do I understand that the honorable senator desires that greater powers than those we are seeking should be conferred upon this Parliament?


Senator KEATING - I do not know what the honorable senator understands. I do not want to indorse this provision that is contained in the Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill, which sets out that -

This section shall not apply to any industry or business conducted, or carried on by the Government of a State or any public authority constituted under a State.

We recently had an experience of the seizure of wheat in New South Wales by the Government of that State. When its action was challenged, its position was sustained by the High Court. That tribunal held that such action was not an infraction of the provision in our Constitution relating to freedom of trade. I repeat that we cannot compel New South Wales to sell any commodity that it possesses if it does not wish to do so. If, instead of "the New South Wales Government, a private individual in that State held a monopoly of the wheat within its borders, there is no power in our Constitution to compel him to sell it to persons in Victoria. Free Trade means that there shall be freedom as between buyer and seller, and if New South Wales' were not a seller to outsiders there could be no question of trade involved at all. The Government of that State recently seized the wheat within its borders, and held it.


Senator Findley - Did the States not enter into a partnership,, and is it a good thing that one State should hold a monopoly of a particular commodity, and refuse to sell it to other States?


Senator KEATING - I am not justifying the action of New South Wales.


Senator Findley - But the honorable senator is opposing the powers for which we ask.


Senator KEATING - I am not. I am merely pointing out that the Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill will not confer upon this Parliament the power that is sought - that, as a matter of fact, it will actually protect New South Wales in repeating its action in the future.


Senator Findley - Will, this Parliament not have concurrent powers under that Bill ?


Senator KEATING - The Bill states-

This section shall not apply to any industry or businessconducted or carried on by the Government of a. State or any public authority constituted under a State.


Senator Findley - Does the New South Wales Government grow all the wheat that is produced in that State?


Senator KEATING - I repeat that the New South Wales Government possessed the power to seize all that wheat prior to Federation. It has that power to-day, and it will have it even if these amendments are approved by the electors. Each State will still possess the same power.


Senator Watson - Is it not the honorable senator's opinion that these powers are insufficient, and that greater powers are needed ?


Senator KEATING - The proposed amendment of the Constitution in regard to monopolies will not only not meet the situation, but will absolutely strengthen the position of New South Wales or of any other State which desires to be a monopolist in the future. If all these amendments are adopted the experience to which we were recently subjected by the New South Wales Government may be repeated as the result of the action of the Government of any State in connexion with any commodity. The provision in the Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill, instead of curing the evil, will intensify it.


Senator Watson - The honorable senator has proved conclusively that he recognises that greater powers are necessary.


Senator KEATING - I do.


Senator Watson - Then why cavil at the powers we are seeking ?


Senator KEATING - Because they will not meet the situation. In some ways they will go beyond the requirements of the position, whilst in others they will fall short of them.


Senator Watson - Tell us what will meet the position ?


Senator KEATING - I am not responsible for the Bill, and I decline to take the responsibility of here and now formulating what will meet the position. I have closely watched the development of our Constitution as the result of its interpretation by the High Court. I have noted all the legislation which this Parliament has enacted, and I have observed how it has been dealt with by the High Court. As a result, I say that it is scarcely within the competence of any honorable senator here and now to attempt to remedy these evils. We require a more serious application to the task than we can bestow upon it.

Clause 2 of this Constitution Alteration (Nationalization of Monopolies) Bill provides -

When each House of the Parliament in the same session has, by resolution, passed by an absolute majority of . its members, declared that the industry or business of producing, manufacturing, or supplying any specified foods, or of supplying any specified services, is the subject of a monopoly, the Parliament shall have power to make laws for carrying on the industry or business by, or under the control of, the Commonwealth, and acquiring for that purpose, on just terms, any property used in connexion with the industry or business. Now, a monopoly may not always be a profitable one. Monopolies will arise in the Commonwealth in connexion with pioneering developments which are not profitable. Take the case of shale oil as an example. To a certain extent some other persons and myself may fairly be included with pioneers of that industry in Tasmania. For various reasons the enterprise was not a success, but at a certain stage of our operations we might well have been regarded as monopolists. Personally I believed - and I still believe - that the deposits of shale ore in my own State are excellent, and of a payable nature.


Senator Bakhap - They have been most favorably reported on by Dr. Wade.


Senator KEATING - They have been; but, unfortunately, that is since I ceased to have an interest in them. Let us assume for the moment that the persons to whom I have referred and myself were the only persons in Australia who were producing oil. We would have been monopolists, although we would not have been carrying on a profitable monopoly. Now it is quite possible that in the future the Commonwealth may be invited to take over pioneering enterprises which are unprofitable monopolies.


Senator O'Keefe - " Invited " to take over. That is a different matter.


Senator KEATING - When that contingency arises it may be pointed out to this Parliament that with the wealth and resources of the Commonwealth behind them, such monopolies may be made profitable. As a result this Parliament may be landed with unprofitable monopolies as well as profitable ones. Those are possibilities.


Senator O'Keefe - We may assume that Federal members, in the future, will be men of common sense.


Senator KEATING - Influence will be sought to be exercised on honorable members, and States which arc interested in such things may endeavour to get their representatives to induce Parliament to take such enterprises over, and incur the expenditure of money. In the case of those undertakings we have to remember that Australia is, according to what we know at present, a country of infinite resource; that ithas as great a variety of mineral wealth as almost any country in the world. Many of those things will be the basic commodities of large industries in the future, and when they are in the most experimental stage men who have gone into them and lost their capital may still be the monopolists, and not having sufficiently tested them may be anxious to get out. Those are matters which the Commonwealth Parliament, even if it does not take them over, will be bothered with.

About this time last year the United Kingdom was in the throes of a violent party warfare. It was in connexion with the proposed endowment of the people of Ireland with self-government. The Imperial Parliament had passed a Government of Ireland Bill, and a considerable amount of heat and party passion was engendered. I need not recall the circumstances. The Bill went on to the statutebook, and will come into force on a date to be fixed. I have been looking through the measure. It is a curious thing that the powers it is proposed to give to the Parliament of Ireland are the powers which we are now seeking in many instances by these amendments to centralize in the Commonwealth Government. In other words, we are going back to what they are departing from. They are seeking by devolution to take away from the Parliament of the United Kingdom certain powers and give them to the Parliament of Ireland. Hereafter, possibly they may follow a similar procedure with regard to Scotland, Wales, and England, leaving the Parliament of the United Kingdom a Parliament like this one, to deal with all the general matters and matters of foreign concern.


Senator Gardiner - In other words, the Irish Parliament, when it comes into existence, will have greater powers than the Commonwealth Parliament possesses?


Senator KEATING - The Irish Parliament will have the domestic power in relation to Ireland which our States have, and which we are now seeking to assume the responsibility for.


Senator Gardiner - Which we have no authority to deal with now;


Senator KEATING - We have nob these powers in regard to internal matters in Tasmania or New South Wales. Those States now have the powers; Ireland will have the powers which now remain with the State Parliaments under the present Constitution.


Senator Watson - The Commonwealth Government is an effete Government?


Senator KEATING - The Government of the United Kingdom, in this regard, is placing itself in the present position of the Commonwealth Government, and the latter is going back to the position which the former is retreating from.


Senator Gardiner - The Government of the United Kingdom still retain those powers as regards England, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and Scotland.


Senator KEATING - The effect of the measure is that the powers which are given to the Irish Parliament are powers which are at present exercised inthe main by the States. The Imperial Parliament is abrogating the powers which we are proposing to assume.


Senator Lynch - There is still retained by the Imperial Parliament a number of powers which this Parliament enjoys today.


Senator KEATING - Undoubtedly. We enjoy to-day a number of powers which the Imperial Parliament retains.


Senator Bakhap - Is it not a fact that the Imperial Parliament has given to the Irish Parliament the right to levy Customs duties?


Senator KEATING - It has given to Ireland rights in regard to the Post Office which none of our States have. It has given to Ireland, in many respects, a greater extension of powers than the States in the Commonwealth enjoy at present.

I do not oppose these amendments on the principle that the Federal Parliament of to-day, or of any day, should not be trusted. I do not for a moment suggest that either to-day, or in the future, it should be mistrusted, or that it is likely to abuse any powers. I realize that the Federal Parliament cannot exercise any powers except those which the electors of members of both Houses require it to exercise, and in the way they desire. But I do believe that, with this indefinite extension of powers which is comprised in the amendments, 'the Federal Parliament, so far from abusing the powers, is much more likely to be, unfortunately, compelled to neglect many of the- responsibilities which will fall on it. I believe that, with the added powers, it will be congested with business beyond its competence.


Senator Watson - Just now you said that they were incomplete powers, but now you say that they are indefinite powers.


Senator KEATING - They are indefinite where there is no limit. I pointed out last night that, with regard to trade and commerce, the power is absolute. We are dealing with six Bills. Some of them, I say, are incomplete - the one in regard to monopolies is incomplete - while the others overstep the necessities of the occasion. The trade and commerce power goes far beyond the necessities of the case, I believe. The other falls short of what my honorable friends require. It falls short of what they believe they are achieving. That is my opinion.


Senator Watson - You admit that legislation will have to be brought in to give effect to any power which is exercised under the Constitution. If the Parliament does not want it, surely it will not legislate.


Senator KEATING - That is what I say. I do not suggest that the Federal Parliament of to-day or of the future will abuse these powers. I do not say that, as an institution, it is to be mistrusted or distrusted, but the trade and commerce power and the industrial power are two powers which may be exercised in the most varied way, and under the most complex conditions. Regarding those two big powers in respect to which this Parliament's authority will be absolute, and in that way indefinite, I do believe that the congestion of work will be so great that it will not be able effectively to attend to it. What has been our history? With the limited powers that we already have, what has been the duration of our sessions? It has been longer than those of any State Parliament, and if we are to have this indefinite - this absolute extension of power in some respects - I do not see that there will be any recesses for the Parliament, if we are to apply ourselves property to the problems that will come up for treatment in the sympathetic and adequate manner which they will demand.







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