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Wednesday, 24 September 1902

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The fact that there was an agreement at all seemed to weigh more with him than did the equity and good conscience aspect of the matter. In connexion with the court proposed we do not want that kind of thing to obtain. When a question of law has to be decided, by all means let it be determined by a J udge ; but I do not think we should be acting wisely if we appointed a Judge to preside over a court which has merely to say whether substantial justice has or has not been done to the electors of the Commonwealth as a whole. It is the electors whom we have to consider and not the candidates. We must look beyond the latter to the effect -which the decisions of this tribunal may have upon the electorates of the country. There is another aspect to this question, namely, that of the expense involved. In my 'judgment it would be far better to adhere to the system which has worked well in Australia for so many years than to revert to the. position sought to be established by the Senate. I trust that the Minister will not insist upon the amendment made by this Chamber. 45 m

Sir William Lyne - I have already stated that the Government do not intend to insist upon it.

Mr Mauger - They must not, or they will lose the Bill.


Mr Mauger - They say so in the Senate.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it to be understood that this House is going to allow the other Chamber to mould the Bill in its entirety ? After the statement of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, I shall vote with the greatest possible pleasure against the Government proposal. He has declared that there is a threat hanging over the Ministry in connexion with this matter.

Mr Mauger - No.

Mr Isaacs - The Senate has no more made a threat in regard to this matter than it did in regard to the Tariff.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have yet to hear that any threat was made by the Senate regarding the Tariff.

Mr Watson - There were five or six.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I certainly never heard of any. I did hear that the Senate intended to fight for its principles, just as this House fought for its principles. On the merits of the case, however, I think that there is more to be said in favour of the appointment of a Committee of Elections and Qualifications to decide disputed elections- than there is in favour of a court of law.

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