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Friday, 27 July 1906

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) . - I believe that Senator Symon is doing all that he can to make this a perfect Bill, but I point out to the honorable and learned senator, and to Senator Neild that things might be done " in relation to " lands which many lawyers, and even courts, might decide were not done " on " the land. I may be the owner of a strip of land two or three chains wide, through which the Post and Telegraph Department might decide to run a telephone tunnel. The opening of the tunnel might be at. some distance from my land on the one side, and the end of it might be at some distance on the other side. In the circumstances, it might not be necessary that the Minister should go " on " the land at all. I should like to know what harm is likely to arise if the words " in relation to " are allowed to remain, and whether they might not be necessary, in case of a dispute, with respect to easement in such a case as that to which I have referred ?

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [11.25]. - It isvery. useful to discuss these matters fully, and I am indebted to Senator Keating for what he has pointed out. My desire, as Senator McGregor has been good enough to recognise, is to make the Bill as clear as possible. The instance to which the honorable senator has referred rnakes it quite clear that the words " in relation to " are not required. If the Commonwealth desired to run a tunnel through land, they would have to acquire it. This clause has no relation to that state of things. It refers to lands adjacent to land acquired by the Commonwealth, and merely enables the Commonwealth authorities not to run a tunnel through those adjacent lands, or to acquire a single foot of them above or below ground, but to occupy the surface, and to take material from it. The authorities of a State, for instance, acquire the land on which a railway 'is constructed, but they have the right to go, it may be, 200 yards on either side of the line, and occupy adjacent land for the purpose of taking ballast. That is dealing only with the surface of the land.

Senator McGregor - It might be necessary to make a tunnel through land for a temporary purpose.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It could not be done on the land referred to in this clause.

Senator Keating - Might it not be regarded as an excavational cutting?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No. If the Minister will look at the corresponding section of the existing Act, he will find a reference to side cuttings or excavations, the object of the provision being that where, in connexion with the construction of a work, it becomes necessary to side-cut into adjacent land, that shall be looked upon as merely taking material, and it shall not be necessary to acquire the land.

Senator Pearce - Would the words "in relation to " cover the carting of material over land?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No, that is all covered, by the powers given to take clay, &c, and by the general power to occupy given in clause 23. If Senator Keating can show that there is any object to be gained by the retention of the words "in relation to," I shall have no more to say, but from considerable experience I know that the use of superfluous words in Acts of Parliament gives rise to litigation. The use of these words in this clause appears to me to be quite unnecessary, and might give rise to difficulties of interpretation.

Amendment negatived.

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