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Thursday, 4 April 1968


Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Leader of the Opposition) - I direct the Committee's attention to clause 4. In his second reading speech the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) said of it:

Clause 4 will exclude appeals from Federal Courts, other than the High Court, and the Supreme Courts of the Territories. The clause does no more than give statutory effect to existing practice. In theory, leave might be sought to appeal from one of these courts to the Privy Council, but in practice there has never, so far as I am aware, been such a case. The clause is included for the sake of completeness.

I can imagine that there might be cases where, in theory at all events, leave of appeal to the Privy Council could be asked from a decision of a court of a Territory other than the Supreme Court, and I inquire whether it might not be prudent to substitute a court of a Territory' for 'the Supreme Court of a Territory'. I do not propose to move any amendment; I raise the question.

The other comment 1 wish to make turns on the Attorney-General's statement:

.   . leave might be sought to appeal from one of these courts to the Privy Council, but in practice there has never, so far as I am aware, been such a case.

He will have been aware from the comments of my colleague, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), that there is some expertise on my side of the chamber in matters of Privy Council appeals. Indeed, the only person in the Parliament who has been taken there is, in fact, the honourable member for Reid. I can cite, and many of my colleagues will recall, another case where one of my colleagues could have been taken to the Privy Council. It was the case of Cameron and Davis, before the Commonwealth Industrial Court. The applicant was the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron). His senior counsel was the learned gentleman who is now the Deputy Leader of my Party in the Senate (Senator Cohen). He was instructed by the honourable gentleman who is now the Leader of my Party in the Parliament of Victoria. The junior counsel for the respondent was the learned gentleman who is now the Leader of my Party in the Senate (Senator Murphy). The respondent's senior counsel, not being satisfied with the decision of the Commonwealth Industrial Court, sought leave from the Privy Council to appeal to it. Leave was refused, not on any ground that it was not open to the Privy Council to grant leave in this case but that it was not thought appropriate to do so. This is a matter of history which I thought members, not only of the legal profession but of this institution, might like to have on record. However, it is the first matter upon which I seek the AttorneyGeneral's comment; that is, might it not be more prudent to say 'a court of a Territory', and not limit it to 'the Supreme Court of the Territory'?







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