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Wednesday, 23 March 1927


Senator NEEDHAM (Western. Australia) .- The clause reads -

Section eleven of the principal Act is amended by inserting after sub-section (2.) the following sub-section: - " (2a) There shall also be a Registry of the High Court in the Territory for the Seat of Government, and that Registry shall 'be a District Registry until the principal seat of the High Court is at the Seat of Government."

The Minister has stated that it would probably be inconvenient for the High Court to move to the Seat of Government at Canberra just now, and that, in the meantime, the attendance of one justice will be quite sufficient to enable the court to function in civil, criminal, and appellate jurisdiction. I should like to know why it is inconvenient to effect the removal immediately. This Parliament is a higher court than the High Court. It is in the act of moving to the Seat of Government at Canberra at much greater inconvenience and cost than would be involved in the transference of the High Court. The importance of that court is not as great as that of the national Parliament, and it should be instructed to at once prepare to move to the Seat of Government at Canberra. With all due respect to such an august institution, ' 1 cannot see why it should be so tenderly handled. The other day I asked to be advised of the date of . the removal to Canberra of the Public Service Board The reply which I received was that one member of the board, perhaps, would be sent there for the time being, but that it would be inconvenient for the whole board to move because proper accommodation was not available for it. Neither the Public Service Board nor the High Court should be placed above Parliament. If it is convenient for Parliament to move it should be convenient also for the High Court and the Public Service Board and their staffs. The cost to litigants would not be any greater, and the court could function from Canberra as well as from- Melbourne. I can see no reason for delay. Will the Minister tell us how long one of the justices will exercise the whole of the authority of the High Court ?







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