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Thursday, 25 June 1903

Mr CROUCH (Corio) - This clause provides that -

Until the seat of government is established, the principal seat of the High Court shall be at such place as the Governor-General from time to time appoints.

I should like to know why the rights of Melbourne, under section 125 of the Constitution, in respect to the sittings of Parliament, are not preserved in this clause in respect to the seat of the High Court ?

Mr Conroy - The only right of Melbourne under the Constitution is to have the sittings of Parliament here " until it meets at the seat of government."

Mr CROUCH - No doubt the honorable and learned member is technically correct; but, from the admissions of every Premier who attended the conference at which the

Constitution Bill was amended, the intention was that Melbourne should be the seat of government until the time came to establish it at some other place.

Mr Conroy - No. When Parliament is not sitting, the seat of government may be in Sydney.

Mr CROUCH - I hold that it is an advantage to Melbourne to have the seat of government here, and I think that our rights should not be disregarded in the matter of the High Court. As it is, the GovernorGeneral is conspicuous by his absence from Melbourne. He very rarely comes here. He spends a great deal of his time in Adelaide, and when he is not there he is often, for political reasons, in Sydney. I suggest to the Attorney-General that he should carry out the intention, if not the technical meaning, of section 125 of the Constitution by omitting the words " such place as the Governor-General from time to time appoints," and inserting the word " Melbourne."

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa).- The honorable and learned member seems to have overlooked the fact that the Acts Interpretation Act provides that " GovernorGeneral " means the Governor-General with the advice of the Executive Council, and the Executive Council would naturally fix the seat of the High Court where the capital was for the time established.

Clause agreed to.

Postponed clause 10 - (Registries).

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