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Thursday, 18 June 1903

Mr CONROY (Werriwa) - I thoroughly agree with the arguments advanced by the honorable and learned member for Corinella. Section 71 of the Constitution is clear, and if it is merely wished to give the powers therein contemplated, we should use the words of the section. But there is no necessity to do so, because the provision is already in the Constitution, and will be observed. There is no doubt that this clause might raise very serious debate as to whether the powers conferred on the courts in sections 75 and 76, not only as to original jurisdiction, but as to additional original jurisdiction, would not be vested in the Court. If the clause is merely, in conformity with section 71 .of the Constitution, there is no necessity for it ; on the other hand, it may open up a wide door of doubt - so wide that, considering we have already secured the exclusion of clause 31, it should not be allowed to remain. If the clause be removed, no dispute can arise, and if it includes what is contemplated in sections 75 and 76 of the Constitution, or there is any likelihood of its doing so, it ought not to remain.

Mr. HIGGINS(Northern Melbourne).I do not think we ought to strike out the clause until the Attorney-General has had time to consider it with reference to the striking, out of clause 31. It may be that there are reasons which we do not know at present for the retention of this clause. I agree with the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that the clause .is either unnecessary or dangerous, but at the same time I suggest that if the Attorney-General will undertake to recommit it, the purpose will be answered.

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