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Tuesday, 28 June 1904

Mr GLYNN (Angas) - The principle of the clause is a very dangerous one.

Mr Hughes - The clause is word for word the same as the section of the New South Wales Act.

Mr GLYNN - Yes ; but while it may be a right provision in a State Act, it is not a provision which should be inserted in a Federal measure. It really means that a Justice of the High Court may, after an award has been given, administer it himself. He may go into any factory to which it applies, and see whether there is a likelihood of a breach of the award taking place. In other words, the clause mixes up the functions of the Judiciary and administration, which is opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. it is of the essence of Federal Government that there shall be no such confusion. If honorable members look closely at the clause, they will see that it is not confined to pending disputes or Bending matters. I can understand that it may be necessary for the President to have a view of the locus in quo of a dispute ; but every Court has an inherent right to go to any place for the purpose of informing its mind on the matter before it. Therefore the clause is not necessary to give the President that power. But it goes further, since it enables him to make these visits at any time, whether 'the dispute or matter is or is not pending. The word " matter " goes further than the word " dispute." and would, perhaps, cover an application to vary the terms of an award. The President is empowered, if he merely anticipates a breach of an award or an offence, to investigate the matter before it is brought before him in his judicial capacity. It might go before a minor Court, but' it might come before the President himself. Surely it is not intended that he should become an administrative officer, and deal with matters which have not been referred to him by some person affected. I would suggest that after the word "may," line 3, the words " having connexion with any dispute or pending matter before the Court" should be inserted. The word " matter " would cover the case of an application to have the terms of an award varied, which might not be embraced' within the definition of "dispute." Surely the President of the Court should not be asked to act as an administrative officer, in addition to discharging his judicial functions.

Mr Watson - But he should have power to satisfy himself that the award of the Court has been carried out.

Mr GLYNN - I quite agree that the President should have power to fully inform himself of the facts of any case with regard to which he may be required to give a decision, but I think that some differentiation should be made between the President and any person appointed by the Court to act as an inspector. I do not think that the Judge should interfere with the administration of the Act in any way. Whilst it might be reasonable to ask the President to give authority to an inspector to enter any building or other place where an industry was being carried on, it would be absurd to expect him to go there himself. As a matter of preference, however, all matters connected with the administration of the Act should be left to the Minister in charge, and the judicial and administrative functions should be entirely separate. If the Minister will promise to consider the matter I shall not move an amendment.

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