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Thursday, 14 April 1904

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister for External Affairs) . - I shall cause inquiry to be made as to the reason of the delay complained of by the honorable member for Fremantle. I cannot promise the honorable member for Darwin the pleasure of appearing before a committee of his fellow members for the trial of an election petition, because the experience of this State has shown that no more expensive tribunal was ever devised for that purpose. A leading barrister of this city, who was a spectator at a recent trial in the High Court, assured me that an ordinary court would have been occupied for three weeks in dealing with a matter which engaged the High Court only three days.

Mr Crouch - Hear, hear. I was there myself.

Mr KING O'MALLEY (DARWIN, TASMANIA) - A committee of this House could have dealt with it in a couple of hours.

Mr DEAKIN - How could justice have been obtained if the complex questions at issue, one of which affected 1,400 ballotpapers, had been dealt with in two hours ?

Mr O'Malley - The High Court is for millionaires.

Mr DEAKIN - I ask the honorable member to exercise a little patience, until an amending Bill can be introduced which will remove the misconceptions upon which the cases to which he has referred have been based. It is reasonable to expect that no such confusion will occur in future elections.

Mr O'Malley - No lawyer will appear in the High Court for less than ,£100.

Mr DEAKIN - If the honorable member prefers a lawyer at that price, it is no doubt because experience has taught him the value of such an advocate. With regard to the matter referred to by the honorable and learned member for Angas, it is one of departmental administration, and I shall be happy to inquire into it if he will tell me where the practice of which he complains obtains. I suppose it is confined to the Northern Territory.

Mr Glynn - It obtains over a large part of the State of South Australia.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at p.m.

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