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Wednesday, 23 March 1927


Senator McLACHLAN (South Australia) (Honorary Minister) , - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This measure is occasioned by the impending removal of the Seat of Government to Canberra. By section 52 of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, 1904-1926, it is provided that the principal registry of the Arbitration Court shall, when the Seat of Government is established, be at the Seat of Government ; but, until that time, it shall be at such place as the Minister directs. The Minister has, on three occasions, under this authority, directed that the principal registry should be situated at various places in Melbourne. In view of the early establishment of the Seat of Government at Canberra, an alteration of the section becomes necessary, because it is not proposed, at present, to remove the principal registry to Canberra. The provisionsof section 10 of the Judiciary Act, which are somewhat similar to section 52 of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, were amended in 1926 to provide that, on and after a date to be fixed by proclamation, the principal seat of the High Court shall be at the Seat of Government, and that until the date so fixed, the principal seat of the High Court shall be at such place as the Governor-General from time to time appoints. The proposed amendment is on similar lines to that made in the Judiciary Act. The hill provides that, on and after a proclaimed date, the principal registry shall be situated at the Seat of Government, but that until then, it shall be situated where the Minister directs. Section 52 (2) of the principal act also provides that each district registry shall be situated in the capital city of the State where it is situated. This would preclude the establishment of a district registry at Canberra. Under section 51 b of the act, the Governor-General may establish district registries for the registration of organizations. This power is not limited to the States. The bill provides that each district registry situated in a State shall be situated in the capital city of the State. The amendment will enable the Government, if it thinks fit, to provide for the establishment of a district registry in the Territory for the Seat of Government, or in any other territory of the Commonwealth. Honorable senators will see that this is merely a machinery measure to meet the position which shortly will arise. I therefore confidently ask the Senate to expedite its passage.


Senator Thompson - The High Court could more easily be removed to Canberra than could many of the departments .


Senator McLACHLAN - This bill refers, not to the High Court, but to the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. As the Government does not intend that the court shall function at Canberra from the date of the transfer of the Seat of Government, this bill will enable it to carry out its duties as at present, and will place in the hands of the Minister the power to remove the principal registry to Canberra when he considers that to be desirable.







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