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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Prowse (FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Order! The bill contains no reference to John the Baptist.

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - The Government should explain the selection of the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner). When the Government wishes to appoint a committee representing both sides of the House, the usual practice is to invite the Leader of the Opposition to nominate an honorable member to represent the Opposition. That is only common courtesy. Another important feature is that these measures, if they do anything at all, deprive the States of certain powers which they have exercised since the beginning of federation. .Whatever may be the feelings of honorable gentlemen on the subject of unification, the States possess those powers by virtue of their membership of the federation. If the Government has in mind any vital alterations of the Commonwealth Constitution, there is a clearly defined course to be followed. Before the Government was entitled to introduce this measure, common courtesy demanded that the State Premiers should be consulted on the matter. They should not have been confronted with a proposal that apparently emanated from an agreement between the- Government and the Opposition in this chamber, and asked to pronounce upon it. The Government should have discussed the problem with the Premiers and obtained their consent.

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