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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) -35l- - When Senator Higgs rose, I anticipated that he would have shown his usual consistency, and submitted a motion asking the Senate to decline to consider or pass this Bill unless it contained the names of the two gentlemen to be appointed. Such a step would have been in conformity with a motion the honorable senator once invited the Senate to pass in regard to another appointment.

Senator Higgs - It may not be too late now.

Senator MILLEN - It is because I recognise that it is' not too late that I make the suggestion, so that in Committee the honorable senator may remedy what is no doubt an omission on his part.

Senator Higgs - Will the honorable senator second the proposal?

Senator MILLEN - I am always doubtful about seconding any proposal which the honorable senator brings forward. On the previous occasion to which I allude, I found myself in opposition to the honorable senator, and it is probable I should be in the same position this time.

Senator McGregor - Will Senator Millen himself submit a motion of the kind if we support him ?

Senator MILLEN - No, because I should then be making a proposal in which I did' not believe. Little confidence as I have in the present Government, it would be too serious to follow the course taken by Senator Higgs on a previous occasion. As to the Bill, I have listened to two speeches by Senator McGregor and Senator Best. I agree with that portion of the remarks of Senator McGregor in which he points out that owing; to the rapidity with which we are turning out legislation, and creating new crimes and offences, it is possible that .we shall require additional Judges. It is a question, however, whether" that is not an argument against the class of legislation we are passing, rather than an argument for the appointment of additional Judges. If every night we meet here we intend to make fresh offences and crimes, we had better face the inevitable, and agree to appoint twenty additional Judges, or leave it to the Government to appoint an unlimited number. I am satisfied that if the legislation of the future is to be like that of the past, five Judges will be insufficient.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - If every infraction of the. rules of trade ls to be an offence, we shall require 100 Judges.

Senator MILLEN - Senator Best rose for the purpose of supporting the Bill, but to my mind he furnished the strongest pos sible objection to an increase from three to five Judges. The honorable senator assured the Senate that in no case had the public been kept waiting for decisions; and that in every direction, there was unbounded satisfaction with the work the Court had performed. If there is no evidence of an \ injury to the public interest owing to delay on the part of the Judges, surely it is only reasonable that, instead of jumping immediately from three to five Judges, we should try the experiment- indicated by Senator O'Keefe.

Senator Henderson - Some cases have been pending for months.

Senator MILLEN - If that be so, it disposes of the argument brought forward by Senator Best.

Senator Best - Senator Millen omits what I said when I mentioned that we cannot afford to keep our High Court working at the present high pressure.

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