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Tuesday, 30 June 1903

Mr McCAY (Corinella) - I submit to the- Committee that there are two reasons which differentiate the case of the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth, in connexion with the office of Acting GovernorGeneral, from that of the Chief Justice of a State, in connexion with the office of Acting Governor. First, in a State there is not the person or class of persons to whom resort can obviously be made for the position of Acting Governor, that there is in the case of the Commonwealth with its constituent States and respective Governors. It seems an obvious and proper course, under the circumstances, to appoint the senior State Governor as Acting Governor-General. The Chief Justice has been appointed Acting Governor in each of the States from time to time because he is regarded as, next to the Governor himself, the person most apart from party politics. The other reason is that the Judges of a State do not stand in the same relation to the Executive and Parliament of a State that the .Judges of the Commonwealth will stand in relation to the Executive and Parliament of the Commonwealth. There is no such guardianship of the States Constitution, to use a well-known phrase, intrusted to the States Judges as there is of the Federal Constitution intrusted to the Commonwealth Judges. In view of the Judicature chapter in the Constitution it seems to me that if there is one thing about which we should be scrupulous it is in keeping the Judges absolutely apart from the Government of the Commonwealth, except so far as the Constitution distinctly lays down the limits of the functions they have to perform. We should be almost infringing the spirit of the Constitution if we contemplated the Chief Justice becoming at any time the Acting GovernorGenneral.

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