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Wednesday, 25 August 1920

Mr HECTOR LAMOND (Illawarra) . - I am not satisfied with the explanation given by the Minister for Works and Railways. As I understand it, the term of office of the President and Deputy Presidents must expire at the same time. This will hamper the Government in dealing with the conditions as they exist in the Arbitration Court. If at the commencement of the President's term of office there is a period of congestion, the Government can only appoint an additional Judge for seven years. On the other hand, if we are within a year of the expiration of the President's term of office, we can only appoint Deputies for one year. The work ofthe Arbitration Court cannotbe foreshadowed for five, six, or seven years, and the result of making this long term of office compulsory will be that the Government will defer the appointment of a Deputy as long as possible, in the hope that the congestion will disappear and an additional Judge will not be necessary.

Mr Ryan - Is the honorable member opposing the amendment?

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - I am not very clear as to what the amendment means. I am in favour of power being given to appoint more Deputies, and I am in favour of the Deputies continuing to hold office whether the President resigns or not; but I would like to know why the Government deny themselves the right to appoint a Deputy for a year when that period of service may be sufficient to relieve the congestion of the Court. I think the Government would be in a better position to deal with the congestion if they were able to appoint a Deputy for one, two, or three years, as the circumstances warranted. The relation between the terms of office of the Deputy and the President is purely fictitious, and of no practical use at all. I would like the Government to have power to appoint a Deputy for such term as may be necessary, without regard to the term of the office of President, but for a period not exceeding seven /ears. I think there should be power at present, considering the state of the Arbitration Court work, to appoint several Deputies. Yet if they were appointed they would have to hold office till the President's term expired. If temporary Deputies could be appointed-, that would be the proper course to follow.

Mr Ryan - Does the honorable member suggest that if the Deputy did not prove suitable the Government could remove him from office?

Mr HECTOR LAMOND - The less the Government have to do with a Judge after he is appointed the better. I advocate the complete independence of Judges after they have been appointed to the Bench; a Judge should not be able to look to the Executive for any preferment or favour. In this case, however, appointment for a lesser term than the Bill seems to suggest should be possible.

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