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Thursday, 25 September 1958

Debate resumed (vide page 1640).

Dr. EVATT(Barton - Leader of the

Opposition) [10.1]. - The Opposition accepts and supports this measure. It is an unusual measure because, owing to the illness of the justice of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, Mr. Justice Simpson, it is necessary to take special steps to obtain a judicial officer to act for him during his illness. I should like to say how much we hope that he will recover quickly from his illness.

The steps being taken by the Government are unusual but, however, necessary. Under the Constitution, for a federal judiciary such as exists in the Territory, the judicial officer must be appointed for life, or for a period without any term. The proposal in this bill is to make eligible for appointment to that position other federal judges at present occupying other judicial positions in the Commonwealth service. That seems to be a convenient arrangement. I do not think it is intended by that provisional arrangement to do away with the obvious necessity of keeping the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, which covers civil law, equity and all Commonwealth statutes, distinct from the jurisdiction of the industrial commissioners who, of course, occupy judicial positions as well.

In the circumstances, the Opposition feels that a temporary solution has been found, but that a permanent solution will have to be on a different basis.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.

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