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Wednesday, 23 June 1926

Senator OGDEN (Tasmania) .- The clause provides that the judges of the Arbitration Court shall be appointed for life, and may be removed from office only upon an address by both Houses of the Parliament, passed in the same session, praying for such removal " on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity." It is an .open question whether it is wise to appoint a judge for life; but whilst the Parliament has the right to remove that judge no objection can be raised to a life appointment. So long as he can be removed only on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity, however, he is secure in his position for life, because it is almost impossible to prove those disqualifications. I have had experience of legislation that contained a similar provision. Neither House of this Parliament would pass a resolution praying for the removal of a judge, except for a just and serious cause. Parliament may be placed in a grave difficulty in the future if it is compelled to prove misbehaviour or incapacity.

Senator Pearce - Has the honorable senator considered the point as to who will be the judge of the misbehaviour or incapacity?

Senator OGDEN - The matter might be referred to a court.

Senator Pearce - No; Parliament is always the judge.

Senator OGDEN - i The Government can be taken before a court to prove misbehaviour or incapacity. Such a position arose in Tasmania in relation to a high official. The words of the State act were identical with these. The matter was taken to the Supreme Court, and neither misbehaviour nor incapacity could be proved. The State had to pay substantial compensation to get rid of him. I move -

That the words " on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity," paragraph b, proposed new section 12, be left out.

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