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Friday, 3 October 1902

Mr REID (East Sydney) - Inasmuch as the amendment referred to would, if made, be inoperative if the Government did not take advantage of it, and inasmuch as it is clear, from what the Attorney-General states, that the Government would not take advantage of it, clearly it would be a dead letter, because no proceedings in the name of the Commonwealth could, I take it, be had except at the instance of the Federal Government. I must say, with every respect for the good objects which my honorable and learned friend has in view, that I do feel that it would be impossible at this period of the session, when we have practically only an hour or two hours available, to deal with the matter. The task seems to me to be too great to take up at present. So far as the first amendment is concerned, the fact that the Government are against it, shows that they would not take advantage of it, and therefore it would be idle to pass it. The omission from this Bill of provisions such as my honorable and learned friend speaks of, however important and pressing they are, will only create the necessity for proper legislation being proposed at the beginning of next session. Of course, there may be some who want to dispense with the High Court altogether or for an indefinite period. I am not one of those ; and, in any case, whether that is to be so or not, the matter should be one of the first to be settled in the ensuing session of the Parliament. I feel so strongly about the necessity for a short Bill of this kind, to give the fullest remedy against the Commonwealth, that I do not want to imperil the chances of its becoming law this session by going into other matters of greater importance. I am afraid the result might be that we should get no Bill at all if we did that, and I, for one, should regard that as a calamity.

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