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Wednesday, 1 September 1920

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister for Works and Railways) . - I cannot accept the amendment. The judgment to which the honorable member (Mr. Ryan) refers was delivered only yesterday by the High Court, and we have not had an opportunity to ascertain to what extent it overrides previous decisions, and affects the industrial activities of theStates.

Mr Brennan - I think the honorable member may safely say that it merely bears out our view of the law.

Mr GROOM - The honorable member is prepared to rush in where angels fear to tread. The judgment is far-reaching and important. If I am not mistaken, the arguments in the case extended over eleven days, and the learned Judges have given a very carefully considered judgment upon it. Only, the barest outlines of the decision are published in the press to-day, and the Government could not be expected to act upon it until its Law advisers had had an opportunity to see the judgment, and to consider its effects.

Mr Ryan - That is a good old way of staving off action. Surely the judgment is in type.

Mr GROOM - I cannot say whether it is or not. My experience is that we have to pay for certified typewritten copies supplied by the associate. We are not prepared to act upon a mere newspaper suggestion as to what is the decision of the Court. I cannot accept an important amendment of this character without knowing what I am doing.

Mr Ryan - Should not the honorable gentleman obtain the judgment of the Court, and read it?

Mr GROOM - I shall do so.

Mr Ryan - I have no doubt as to what the decision' was.

Mr GROOM - I prefer to base any amendment I may propose on the considered judgment of the Court itself. That is the only safe course to take.

Mr Ryan - That is what I am doing.

Mr GROOM - Has the honorable member seen the full text of the judgment ?

Mr Ryan - I heard the case argued, and also heard the delivery of the latter part of the judgment.

Mr GROOM - Then the honorable member is in a better position than I am. I have not seen the judgment, and therefore cannot advise the Committee. The honorable member may have heard part of the judgment delivered, but I have doubts as to whether he fully comprehends its effect.

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