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Request and consent act archaic



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- , r ' STATEMENT BY THE kT. HON. B. M. SNEDDEN, Q.C.-, M.P., , · . LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION - 13 JUNE, 1973.______

; Inevitably .

the final Court of Appeal for Australian legal cases will

be an Australian court. Clearly this should be the High Court

'of'Australia which has an international renown for its quality.

». - ' The way in which this could be achieved is for the Commonwealth ·,.

Parliament to end appeals within the limit of its capacity, i.e.

for all cases involving Federal jurisdiction and by preventing . _

appeals from the High Court. . I t should then consult with the States

about the manner in which the Spates could end appeals. If the

States are willing, then they could take all the necessary action which

is within their power. If the States are unwilling and there is a

conflict of attitude between the State and Federal Governments, it

is for the Australian people to determine the question at a referendum. ·

The methods adopted by the Prime Minister of a "Request and Consent

Act" being passed through the House of Representatives and then

sent on for the English House of Commons 'to pass legislation

affecting Australia»is a denial of Australian nationalism, not as

Mr. Whitlam pretends an expression of Australian nationalism.

, The "Request and Consent Act" proposal is archaic. It was

rejected by both Labor and Liberal Governments in the States recently

as a possible method of overcoming the problems arising out of the

decision in Worthing v. Rowell. This case dealt with the law to

; be applied in Commonwealth places.

Why does the Whitlam Government resort to this archaic

procedure ? · ' · ? ■

It is in the Statute o'f Westminster that we find the "Request

and Consent Act" set out - that is true. However, it is not in the way

that Mr. Whitlam alleges. He speaks as though it were a power .

cheated by the Statute of Westminster fob the House of Commons to

legislate in this way. This is not true. The purpose was to place

a strict limitation on the House of Commons and the British

Government to interfere in other Commonwealth countries' affairs.

For the Prime Minister to»inow-try to use it as a power in a respectable

· < manner, saying the Statute of Westminster justifies it, shows an

. abysmal historical, constitutional and legal inadequacy. The Prime

Minister ought not to try to foist this onto the Australian people.

What is totally unacceptable, particularly because of assurances .

given to the States and the people by the Commonwealth Government - a

Labor Government - when the Statute of Westminster was adopted in 1942,

is that no solution should be unilaterally imposed on the States by