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Thursday, 23 June 1904


Mr CHAPMAN (Eden) (Monaro) .- I appeal to the Prime Minister to consent to progress being reported. There is no desire on the part of honorable members on this side of the Chamber to unnecessarily prolong the discussion. The provision which has occupied our attention today is one of the most important in the Bill. We are told that without it the measure will be almost useless. While a determination to fairly discuss that provision is evidenced, I say that no attempt should be made to curtail the debate. I wish to proceed to Sydney to-morrow, and the honorable member for Hume desires to take a party to Tumberumba. I believe that that trip will render me a very great service. If the Prime Minister is resolved to force this clause through to-morrow, we had better have the contest to-night. I would further point out that much fresh debatable matter has been introduced into the discussion by the honorable and learned member for Indi. I desire to make some answer to his statements concerning the Chief Justice of New South Wales. As a New .South Welshman, I say that his remarks were most uncalled for.


Mr Thomas - That is absolutely incorrect.


Mr CHAPMAN - I make that statement as one who disagrees with the utterances of the Chief Justice. But though I disagree with what he said on the occasion referred to, I hold that it is very bad taste for honorable members of the standing of the honorable and learned member for Indi to drag into a discussion upon this Bill the name of the Chief Justice of New South Wales, and to characterize his action as a political one.


Mr McDonald - So it was.


Mr CHAPMAN - I do not agree with the action of the Chief Justice. Mr. Page. - What else was it but political ?


Mr CHAPMAN - Whoever may be appointed President of the proposed Court, I believe, will be thoroughly impartial. Even if our Judges make mistakes, we have yet to learn that they do not endeavour to mete out substantial justice.


Mr Batchelor - They should not enter into a discussion of political questions.


Mr Watkins - I rise to a point of order. I wish to know whether the honorable member is in order in discussing the Bill in reply to the remarks of the honorable and learned member for Indi ?


Mr Isaacs - I trust that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro will be allowed to finish what he has to say, because I desire to reply to him.


The CHAIRMAN - On the point of order raised by the honorable member for Newcastle, 1 would point out that the question before the Chair is that progress be reported. Upon that motion the remarks of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro are in order.


Mr CHAPMAN - I repeat that the honorable and learned member for Indi has introduced into the discussion fresh debatable matter. I hope to hear him express regret for the statements which he made. Although we may be opposed to the views entertained by a Judge, we should abstain from criticising him on political grounds, especially in the case of a man like the Chief Justice of New South Wales, who stands high in the estimation of the people, not only of Australia, but of other parts of the Empire.


Mr Page - The honorable member is making all the fireworks.


Mr CHAPMAN - I take exception to that remark. I have had some experience of all-night sittings, and I claim that they are not productive of any good ; they serve only to engender bad temper. Although I feel very strongly on this matter, still, if we can arrive at a decision upon it before train-time to-morrow, I am quite willing to waive my rights. I appeal to the Prime Minister to accept the offer of the honorable member for North Sydney, and consent to an adjournment.

Mr. ISAACS(Indi). - I am very sorry to be obliged to occupy the attention of the Committee twice in one evening, but I wish to say expressly what I think every member of the Committee with the exception of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, will recognise, namely, that I did not introduce the name of the Chief Justice of New South Wales into the debate upon this Bill. It was introduced by an honorable member sitting in close proximity to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro. I expressed my regret that the reference had been made, but since the question had been put, I felt bound to reply to it. I did not reflect on the impartiality of the Chief Justice. There is no man I know of who stands higher in the estimation of the Australian people than does Sir Frederick Darley. But we were discussing' the question of whether the proposed Court should express political opinions.


Sir John Forrest - Were they political opinions which were expressed by the Chief Justice of New South Wales?


Mr Watson - Decidedly "yes."


Mr ISAACS - When the statement was made I said that it was so pertinent to the matter under discussion that though I regretted that any reference had been 'made to the Chief Justice of New South Wales, I felt bound to say that the observa-^ tions of His Honour did smack of a

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political statement by a Judge. I consider that no Judge ought to speak in that way. I have not the slightest doubt, that he made these remarks in the most perfect good, faith, but a judicial tribunal? should adhere to adjudication and a Legislature to legislation. It is no part of our duty to invade the judicial province, and it is no part of the duty of a judicial tribunal to invade the legislative province. I do not say this because the incident happened in New South Wales. If it had occurred in Victoria I should have said the same. It is not with me a matter of respect for persons, and I trust that as long as I occupy a seat in the House I shall never be afraid to say respectfully, but firmly, what I believe to be pertinent to the matter at issue.







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