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Thursday, 19 July 1906

Senator MULCAHY - Then the Bill provides that the Supreme Court shall determine disputes. That appears to me a very expensive and cumbersome method of settling what may be only small cases.

Senator Playford - It is a more satisfactory method than arbitration.

Senator Keating - And cheaper.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The Bill provides that in cases involving under ^500 reference may be made to the local Court.

Senator MULCAHY - In connexion with the acquisition of small areas of land required for railway and road purposes, there is often a determined disposition shown on the part of the owners to bleed the Government in every way, and in Tasmania a very advantageous method of dealing with such cases has been adopted by the appointment of a single arbitrator. As a rule, arbitration cases are settled by an umpire and two arbitrators. The person desiring to acquire the property and the owner of it will not agree as to terras, and they appoint a single arbitrator or umpire, who finally decides the terms. We found the appointment of a single arbitrator in such cases to be a cheap, effective, and expeditious way of determining disputes as to the value of land required for public purposes. There will no doubt be cases in which it will be necessary that the Commonwealth should acquire a small area of land in a country town, on which to erect a post-office, or for some similar publice purpose, and it seems to me that by confining the determination in such cases to the Courts, we shall be compelling people to resort to a most expensive means for the settlement of comparatively trivial disputes. With regard to the very effective remarks made by Senator Symon as to the friction which might arise between the States and the Commonwealth, I must say that I have a, very great deal of sympathy with what the honorable and learned senator said upon the subject. If we go, so to speak, sword in hand, to a State and' demand land in that way, especially at a time when there may be some friction existing between that State and the Commonwealth Government, we shall be likely to create unnecessary trouble.

Senator McGregor - It is not proposed that we should go sword in hand to the States any more than to private individuals.

Senator MULCAHY - Senator Symon was advocating the adoption of some more courteous method of approaching a State than that provided for dealing with private individuals. I think that it should go without saying that such a course should be adopted But there can be no doubt that the Commonwealth must possess arbitrary powers in this matter in dealing with a State Government, as well as with an individual.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - It is only a question of the method, and in dealing with a State I think we should adopt the suaviter in tnodo.

Senator McGregor - The suggestion is that we should approach one sword in hand, and the other with the sword behind our backs.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - No, the sword in the scabbard.

Senator MULCAHY - I think that any further observations I have to make can be best submitted in Committee. I shall support the second reading of the Bill.

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