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Tuesday, 30 June 1903


Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) - In contending that the Privy Council does not make laws, but merely interprets them, the honorable and learned member for Werriwa attempts to establish a distinction where there is very little difference. We are all aware that appeal courts are constantly reading into Acts of Parliament meanings which the Legislature did not entertain at the time they were passed. Consequent!}', although the honorable and learned member may be strictly correct in affirming that the Privy Council does not make laws, he has not substantially stated the facts as they exist. It is notorious - as was boasted by the "Attorney-General in moving the second reading of this Bill last session - that Chief Justice Marshall drew from the American Constitution interpretations which did not expressly appear there, but which were absolutely necessary for the smooth working of the Federal machine. In the light of these facts I hold that the honorable and learned member for Werriwa did not place the matter fairly before the Committee. If the honorable and learned member for Corio presses his proposal to a division I shall be found voting with him. I believe that we have men in Australia who are as well, if not better, qualified to interpret our Constitution and to determine what was the meaning of this Parliament as is any tribunal upon the other side of the globe. I chiefly rose, however, to convince the honorable and learned member for Corio of his error in declaring that bis proposal was contained in the Commonwealth Constitution as submitted to the people of Western Australia. My recollection upon this matter is borne out by Messrs. Quick and Garran. I find from their work, The Annotated Constitution qf theAustralianCommonwealth, that the Constitution was finally passed by the House of Lords upon 3rd July, 1900, and that it was assented to by the Queen upon 9 th July, whereas it was not submitted to the people of Western Australia until the 31st of July of the same year. Consequently this clause did not appear in the Constitution as it was presented to the electors of that State.







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