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Tuesday, 28 June 1904

Mr WATSON - In connexion with this clause I propose to leave out all the words after the word " penalty," with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " proceedings for recovery of the penalty may be taken in any Court of summary jurisdiction constituted by a Police, Stipendiary, or Special Magistrate." The object is to enact the New South Wales provision, which insists on the constitution of the Court where this matter is decided by a stipendiary or police magistrate. We propose here to use. the additional term, " Special Magistrate," because there is a class of magistrates in South Australia who are thus termed. Every one who has observed the manner in which Benches, which may be constituted of honorary magistrates, are occasionally packed by interested parties, and especially in metropolitan areas, will agree that it is a most undesirable thing to allow these mat ters, which are to such an extent matters of heat and controversy of a political character, to be brought within the jurisdiction of other than permanent officials. Every fair-minded man will admit the unwisdom of that if it can be avoided. We propose in the interpretation clause, when we recommit that portion of the Bill, to ask the Committee for power to appoint magistrates as " special " magistrates in addition to those so included by the South Australian law-

Mr Groom - The same power is provided in the Judiciary Act, section 68.

Mr WATSON - Yes. I quite recognise that this must be surrounded with some safeguard.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable gentleman proposes - the appointment of District Magistrates.

Mr WATSON - Yes, that was the idea. The difficulty that has arisen in New South Wales, as I understand it, is that they require to apply on every occasion to the Court for a penalty, and for this reason : Assuming for the sake of illustration, that an award covers a dozen employers or employes, who reside in different petty sessions districts - separate action has to be taken in regard to each person in each separate petty sessions district, or else the magistrates have to confess that they have no jurisdiction. That is resulting in New South Wales in the loading up of the Arbitration Court with a lot of work as to penalties in regard to breaches of awards, and so on, that should properly be disposed of by subordinate magistrates. We wish to avoid that kind of thing by the insertion of some provision in the interpretation clause, which will allow of the appointment of Special Magistrates who will have a jurisdiction wider than that of the ordinary petty sessions district.

Mr Groom - The honorable gentleman will have to create a special Court for that, and give that Court special jurisdiction.

Mr WATSON - I think not; but that will be a matter for argument and consideration later. At present it appears to me that we can appoint, say, a Stipendiary Magistrate in Sydney or a Special Magistrate in South Australia, a magistrate for the purposes of this Bill, with, of course, any jurisdiction we care to give him. I wish to add to the number of magistrates, and particularly to the number of honorary magistrates. I do not think there is any desire on the part of honorable members to undertake the invidious task of picking out a few hundreds of thousands of honorary magistrates. I think that the constitution under this Bill of some of . the existing Stipendiary Magistrates as Special Magistrates for this purpose, with a sphere of operation over a wider district than they at present control, will prevent a lot of work being placed on the shoulders of the Court of which it might properly be relieved.

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