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Thursday, 2 November 1911

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - Is there any particular object in the amendment before the Chair? The professed object is to insure a system of compulsory enrolment. But I fear that if we insert' the word "shall" instead of "may," the amendment will give rise to more confusion than it removes. It may remove difficulties in one direction, but only to give place to others. Moreover, it will conflict with other provisions in the Bill, and in the principal Act. Section 13of tba. Act provides that "The GovernorGeneral . ' may ' divide any division into each State to be Commissioners for the subdivision of electorates. Section 22 provides that if Parliament does not approve of a proposed distribution " the Minister may " direct the Commissioners to propose a fresh distribution. In section 23 subsection 2, which provides for the issue of a proclamation, the language used is " such proclamation may be made." In section 24 it is provided that "The GovernorGeneral ' may 1 divide any division into subdivisions by proclamation." In many other parts of the principal Act, also, the word " may " is used. Here it is proposed to use the word "shall" to express the meaning which elsewhere is expressed by the word " may." As a rule, in drafting Acts of Parliament the word " may " is used in connexion with the Crown, where " shall " is used in connexion with a private individual. Legislation is not so drawn to oblige the Crown, or to oblige Parliament, but it is so drawn to oblige an individual. The word " may," when used in connexion with the Crown or with Parliament, carries the same significance :is "shall."

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