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Wednesday, 14 October 1964

Senator COHEN (Victoria) .- There is one matter that I want to raise in relation to . a suggestion made by Senator Wright as to the possibility of a multiplicity of tribunals in the system of appeals. Senator Wright referred to the proposed Federal Court, and to the fact that if it were esablished there would be appeals through it from the Supreme Courts of the States to the High Court of Australia and eventually to the Privy Council. I want to inquire what the present position is with relation to the proposed Federal Court..

At the Commonwealth Law Convention in January 1963 the then Solicitor-General, Sir Kenneth Bailey, announced that the Attorney-General had the authority to design a new Federal Court. His words* I think, may be referred to verbatim so that he cannot be misquoted. At page 325, volume 36, of the "Australian Law Journal ", Sir Kenneth is reported to have said -

It may not be known that the AttorneyGeneral has Cabinet authority to design a new Federal Court with a view to consideration by Cabinet for approval for legislative action.

That announcement was received with interest at the Commonwealth Law Convention in January 1963. I ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General: When did Cabinet give that authority? This was not disclosed by the Solicitor-General on that occasion, and, as far as I know, it has not been the subject of any statement since. Secondly, I ask the Minister: What stage has been reached in designing the new Court? The then Solicitor-General referred to the wish of Sir Garfield Barwick, who was then Attorney-General, to lighten the burden of the High Court in its overall tasks in the Australian judicial system. I should like to know what progress has been made and when we may expect some announcement.

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