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Tuesday, 22 June 1926


Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .- I sympathize with the purpose of the amendment, but it will not accomplish the intention of the mover. Indeed, I doubt whether we have sufficient legal skill in the Commonwealth to draft a provision that would definitely exclude all State instrumentalities from the jurisdiction of Federal tribunals. Admittedly the framers of the Constitution did not intend that Commonwealth jurisdiction should extend to State railways and other instrumentalities of that kind. But the States themselves are largely responsible for the High Court's decision to the contrary. They commenced to dabble in all sorts of enterprises of ordinary trading which should have been left to private individuals, and the High Court finding it impossible to discriminate between State instrumentalities engaging in trading and private enterprises declared them all, therefore, subject to Commonwealth jurisdiction. What Senator' Lynch desires to accomplish cannot be effected by an amendment in general terms such as he has proposed ; he must specifically exclude railways, tramways, and whatever other State instrumentalities he desires to name, from the jurisdiction of Federal courts. That is one objection to the amendment in its present form. There is also the suspicion that it will operate to deprive a great number pf industrialists of rights which they have acquired at considerable expense. The State railway unions will be affected. Naturally they will be supported by other unions from motives of sympathy. If the purpose is to kill the bill-


Senator Drake-Brockman - That is what Senator Barwell and Senator Lynch wish to do, of course. They have said so all along.


Senator ELLIOTT - If that is the object, then the amendment should be supported. I regard the present situation as dangerous in the extreme, and I think the Government has adopted the only course to clarify it. If it were practicable to restore the condition which every one believed 'existed at the inauguration of federation, I should heartily support Senator Lynch; but owing to the extreme difficulty in framing an amendment to meet the situation, and because of the enormous opposition which it would invoke, I must certainly oppose the present amendment.







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