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Friday, 30 April 1915

Mr HUGHES (West Sydney) (AttorneyGeneral) . - I move -

That this Bill be now read a second time.

As I have already explained to the House, this Bill is complementary to the amending Judiciary Bill just dealt with, providing the necessary machinery for giving effect to the latter. Without this Procedure Bill it would be impossible for cases to be tried in the High Court, there being no machinery in regard to the qualification of jurors, the preparation of the jury panel, and so on. Hitherto the High Court has had no jurisdiction to try indictable offences; and, of course, there is no provision in the High Court Procedure Act for such trials. In regard to civil cases, section 12 of the Act provides -

In every suit in the High Court, unless the

Court or a Justice otherwise orders, the trial shall be by a Justice without a jury.

But section 18 of the Constitution requires that indictable offences shall be tried before a jury; and, therefore, this Bill is necessary to give effect to the Judiciary Bill, and to the guarantee in the Constitution that in the case of indictable offences there shall be a jury. I propose, of course, to insert a provision similar to that just inserted in the Judiciary Bill, limiting the duration of the measure.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee:

Clause 1 -

1.   This Act may be cited as the Defence Act 1915.....

Amendment (by Mr. Hughes) agreed to-

That the following new sub-clause be added : - " (3) This Act shall remain in operation during the present war, and for six months thereafter, and no longer."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with an amendment.

Standing Orders suspended.

Report adopted, and Bill read a third time.

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