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Thursday, 9 August 1906

Senator BEST (Victoria) . - I do not know that it is a matter of vital importance which of the two titles in dispute is given to this important measure. The reason that actuated me in voting for the title "Eminent Domain" was that it was picturesque, most expressive, and a term well recognised in connexion with measures of this character.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The honorable senator cannot mention a single measure of this kind called " Eminent Domain."

Senator BEST - It is recognised in some of the American Statutes.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - - Not one 1 . Mention one !

Senator BEST - It is denned in Wharton's Law Lexicon.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - But the average layman does not possess that work.

Senator BEST - It is defined to mean -

The power which a Government retains o\er the lands of individuals to resume them for public use.

That is precisely the object of this Bill. It puts the matter succinctly and expresses the intention exactly.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What objection is there to " Lands Acquisition " ?

Senator BEST - None whatever - no more than there is to " Eminent Domain." But when it is said that it is absolutely essential for the title to indicate what the Bill is), we turn to the English Act. Would any honorable senator know what was meant if, on consulting an index of Acts of Parliament, he saw " Lands Clauses Consolidation Act ' ' ? Can we conceive for a moment of the ordinary layman, without any special experience, taking that title to refer to the acquisition of lands, and the payment of compensation?

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Certainly ; that Act consolidates the previous Statutes on the subject.

Senator BEST - But such a title might be connected with fifty subjects; there is nothing in it to indicate that it refers to the acquisition of lands for public purposes. The title " Eminent Domain " would rapidly become known to the general public, and prove infinitely more expressive than the term hitherto used. I admit at once that if the title as introduced had been " Lands Acquisition " I should not have taken any exception to it.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - It is very simple and intelligible, is it not?

Senator BEST - It is as simple and intelligible as " Eminent Domain." We need not be at all apprehensive about venturing on the title of "Eminent Domain," which so simply and succinctly expresses the character of the Bill.

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