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Wednesday, 10 June 1903

Mr SPEAKER - I would remind the honorable member that he is departing from the subject under discussion.

Mr SALMON - I think we have lost sight of one very important factor to which the Attorney-General drew attention with great point when dealing with the finances of the Commonwealth. He emphasized the fact that the State and the Commonwealth taxpayer are identical. The same argument is applicable to the work to be performed by the Federal Judiciary. I believe that we can devise some means whereby the present State courts can undertake all the urgent work which would otherwise devolve upon the Federal High Court. It must be remembered that we have not deprived the people of Australia of the opportunity of appealing to the Privy Council. That right still remains to every citizen in the Commonwealth. Under these circumstances, we should not be justified in incurring additional expenditure - expenditure which we cannot calculate with any degree of accuracy, but which has been variously estimated at from £30,000 to £60,000 per annum. It is not merely the amount involved in the salaries of the High Court Judges that we have to consider. We have to consider the expenditure necessary to provide for every official whose services are required as an adjunct of the court - from the Chief Justice down to the crier. It means also imposing upon the Commonwealth the paymentof a certain number of pensions. All these points ought to be considered by honorable members. Seeing that there is no immediate necessity for the establishment of the High Court,I intend to vote against the second reading of the Bill. My regard for the Attorney - General, who - as the two Bills which have been submitted to us show - has undertaken an enormous amount of patriotic and selfdenying labour in connexion with this matter, makes it extremely difficult for me to adopt the attitude which I have taken up. But I owe a duty to the citizens of the Commonwealth, and I cannot allow myself to be swayed by personal feelings.

Mr Wilks - There is no personal friendship in politics.

Mr SALMON - There ought not to be upon a question so vitally affecting the finances of the Federation. I understand the Government regard this question as an open one, and I think that they are wise in so doing. They were bound to bring this measure forward at some time or the other, and I do not think they have incurred any odium by introducing it at the present time, although they would have displayed better judgment had they postponed its consideration for a year or two, until there was clearly a more urgent necessity for it.When that period arrives I am sure that honorable members upon both sides of the House will assist them to carry out what is the evident intention of the framers of the Constitution. At the same time, I hold that the Constitution contains no mandatory order for the immediate institution of this particular body. Upon these grounds I regret that I cannot support the second reading of the Bill.

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