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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr ROBERT COOK (INDI, VICTORIA) - That very likely would be the case. We would be prepared to lose our jobs if it were in the interests of the people as a whole, but not for a fancied benefit which may have a boomerang effect, and be more disastrous than these present arrangements.

I am prepared to admit that that arrangement was not carried out, but I am justified in discussing the proposals submitted to the Premiers' Conference. I hope that we shall be able to induce honorable members opposite to make some amendments in the Bill in Committee. One of my main objections to it is that I regard it as involving a surrender of Federal rights. That being so, I cannot consent, iri this Parliament, io any proposal df the kind. I am aware that our Federal Constitution is defective because we followed too closely that of the United States of America. We have suffered just as the people of the United States of America have done, because of the rigidity of our Constitution. Had we adopted a Constitution similar to that of Canada, none of these difficulties would be facing us to-day. The people of Canada were close observers of the operation of the Constitution of the United States of America over a number of years, and decided that it was not elastic enough, and did nob give the National Parliament of the United States of America the power it should have. Canada avoided the defects of the United States Constitution and adopted one much more in consonance with modern ideas.

Mr West - So did South Africa.

Mr FENTON - That is so.

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