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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - The case presented by Senator Keating for the appointment of more than one additional Judge is very weak. I certainly expected when the honorable Minister rose, to hear much stronger arguments presented in favour of the Bill, but the honorable gentleman had to fall back on the communications of Mr. Castle, who, in my opinion, does not present sufficient evidence in favour of so large a demand. If one additional Judge be appointed, and, first of all, undertakes the work of the Arbitration Court, we shall find that much of the so-called block will be removed. I have a suspicion - and I think this has had more influence than anything else- that there is a reluctance on the part of the Judges to do the work of the Arbitration Court. I do not blame the Judges in that connexion, because the work is of a very delicate kind for a Judge to perform. There have been so few registrations, and there are so very few cases likely to come forward for hearing, that I do not think there will be much work for the Judge of the Arbitration Court to do. In mv opinion, three months in, the year will be sufficient to meet requirements in this connexion, and the additional Judge could devote the rest of his time to the usual work of the High Court. It would be far preferable to appoint a fourth Judge now, and a fifth later on if necessary, because, as has been pointed out, if we appoint two additional Judges it will be impossible to dismiss one, should his services not be required. I shall support the amendment.

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