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Wednesday, 25 July 1906

Senator BEST (Victoria) .-^-! do not desire to embarrass my honorable and learned friend, Senator Keating, because I am aware that the ques tion to which I have called attention is a difficult one to deal with at the table; but I hope that he will take into consideration the representations that I have made. I would not advise him to insert an amendment hastily. An alteration of the kind cannot be made without full consideration as to how it will affect other portions of the Bill. It is not the intention1 and desire of this Parliament that the property of persons should, against their will, and without their knowledge, be taken away from them.

Senator Keating - I agree that we should have some provision for the deposit of purchase money where a number of interests are involved. Does the honorable senator wish to test the question regarding the insertion of the words " tenant for life"?

Senator BEST - I am not going to advise my honorable friend to consent to an amendment of that kind without further consideration, especially in regard to a provision which has been in operation in some form since 1845. I say, however, that it is a wrong principle, and one that ought not to be perpetuated by this Parliament. I therefore ask my honorable friend to take the point into consideration, and, if necessary, to recommit the clause.

Senator Keating - I will agree to a recommittal if Senator Best desires it.

Senator BEST - I want my honorable and learned friend to take the responsibility.

Senator Keating - I know what the honorable and learned senator means.

Senator Lt.-Col.GOULD (New South Wales) [4.58]. - There is nothing very serious in making such an amendment as has been suggested. It is not necessary that the Minister should think it over. The clause provides that a lessee for life shall not be entitled to convey the whole of his estate away. What we need to do is to insert in addition the words " tenant for life." A tenant for life virtually, has the same estate as a lessee for life. But still he is not a lessee for life. It is1 just as easy to ascertain who is entitled to the reversion of an estate held by a tenant for life as who is entitled in the case of a lesseeship for life. There is a distinction between the two. A man lets property to A.B. for life, with the remainder to CD. In another case he leases property to A.B. for the remainder pf his life, which is a different thing from making him a tenant for life. I think the Minister ran readily agree to the insertion of wards such as have been suggested.

Senator Best - The words "tenant for life" should certainly go in, but if the Minister has any doubt about it he should have time to consider the point.

Senator Lt Col GOULD - I am contending that there should be no doubt about it. I understand that the Government want to be in a position to secure the conveyance of property with a minimum of trouble. There is no more trouble about getting a xonveyance from the owner of the land where it is in the occupation of a tenant for life than in the case of the occupancy by a lessee for life. I do not think there is much need to be apprehensive as. to persons other than those enumerated.

Senator Best - But the principle is serious.

Senator Lt Col GOULD *- That is so, but I cannot see that a conveyance would be taken from any person who had a less interest than that mentioned.

Senator Best - Then what is the object ?

Senator Lt Col GOULD - There may possibly be some reason, but I cannot see any danger; I cannot imagine that the Government would be advised to take a conveyance from any person holding any verymuch smaller interest. The Government could always protect themselves by resuming the land, and obtaining possession in that way. With the amendment suggested," and provision made as to how the purchase money or compensation shall be paid, the clause will, I think, amply protect every interest. Will the Minister consent to an amendment ?

Senator Keating - I cannot consent to an amendment, but I shall have the matter indicated by Senator Best considered, and, if it be necessary, we can recommit.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 10 (Payment of purchase money).

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