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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia) - I agree with Senator Stewart that we should include justices of the peace amongst those authorized to witness these claims. It is absurd to say that whilst a policeman may be trusted to carry out this duty, a justice of the peace, who is appointed to his office as a man of integrity, standing, and position in the community, cannot be trusted to perform the same duty. A justice of the peace accepts grave responsibilities as such, and is invested with a power of imprisonment. Surely a man who is given the power to take away the liberty of another might be trusted to witness a document of comparatively little importance. Something has been said about the Senate being a recording House for the decisions of the House of Representatives, and the reference was: to the proposal made in the Senate to appoint Commissioners to distribute the States into electorates.

Senator Millen - And for which the honorable senator voted.

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - I did, and I am as strongly in favour of the principle as ever, but in expressing my approval of the clause submitted by the honorable senator, I recognised that the matter was one which peculiarly affected honorable members in another place, and I said that if they insisted that the distribution by the Commissioners should be supervised by Parliament, 1 would not be prepared to insist on the amendment carried in the Senate on the Bill as originally introduced.

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