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Tuesday, 28 June 1904

Mr WATSON - The difficulty is that if the power proposed to be conferred is to be confined to the President, it may impose upon him an enormous amount of comparatively routine work. After al], the Registrar will be a fairly responsible person, and the Court will have the right to review all his actions, of whatever class or character. I do not think that he will lightly use his power. Probably he will receive general instructions from the Court, and will then be left to carry them out. We do not wish to impose upon the President any more duties than we can help, because the multiplication of small functions may necessitate the appointment of an additional Judge of the High Court, whereas, otherwise, there might be no necessity for any such increase in the strength of the Bench.

Mr. JOHNSON(Lang).- In view of that explanation, I do not desire to press for the omission of the word "Registrar." It seemed to me at first glance that it was proposed to confer too much power upon that official. Still I can appreciate the difficulty pointed out by the Prime Minister. I propose to move that the words " during ordinary working hours " should be inserted after the words " at any time." It seems to me that the clause, as it stands, would confer power to enter a building at any time of the day or night, and that that would be too extensive an authority to grant. It would be sufficient if we empowered the officers of the Court to enter a building at any time during ordinary working hours. A building might be closed up, and the proprietors might live some miles away, and if a demand for entry were made at some unseasonable hour of the night much unnecessary inconvenience might be entailed. I hope that the Prime Minister will not see any serious objection to the insertion of the qualifying words-

Mr WATSON - Sp far as the proposal of the honorable member for Angas is concerned, the better plan would be to recommit the clause. I do not object to his amendment, but it would be inconvenient to insert it at this stage. With regard to the suggestion of the honorable member for Lang, I quite agree with him that, generally speaking, it is undesirable to give, power to persons to enter premises at all hours. It struck me, however, whilst he was speaking, that one reason why we should not use too strict phraseology in this instance was that a breach of award might consist of an employer working his hands after ordinary business hours. I should like to know how the -honorable member would get over that difficulty. It might be alleged that Jones had committed a breach of an award by keeping his hands working late at night, and an inspector might require to go and find out what was being done. I do not see how we could meet a case of that kind, if the President could not give authority to enter a .building except during ordinary working hours.

Mr Johnson - Perhaps the words " or during hours when work is in progress " might be added.

Mr WATSON - I would suggest that the word "ordinary" should be omitted from the proposed amendment, and that the words " during working hours " only should be inserted.

Mr. JOHNSON(Lang).- I accept the suggestion of the Prime Minister, and move -

That after the word " time," line 3, the words during working hours," be inserted.

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