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Thursday, 4 October 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales') . - As a supporter of the Bill, I trust the Committee will accept the proposed request. This is a new class of legislation, and it is desirable to give it a fair trial, free from any possibility of prejudice on the part of the public. Laws can only continue if they are buttressed up by a belief on the part of the community that they are just in themselves, and make for the good of those who come under them. A Minister is the creature of political circumstances, who can be made or unmade by . 1 parliamentary majority. He may, indeed, represent a constituency seriously disturbed by some industrial trouble-

Senator Stewart - He then might refuse to act.

Senator MILLEN - He might, but I am trying to show that, even if the Minister be absolutely fair and impartial, he will still be open to suspicion of bias, and the Act would be prejudiced by that suspicion. It has been well said that it is better to have corrupt laws, which the people believe to be honestly administered, than the best of laws which the people believe to be corruptly administered. A Minister would, rightly or wrongly, create a feeling that there was partisanship in any decision he gave. If there were a Parliament with a strong feeling in one direction, and probably moved by some industrial trouble, a Minister might give a decision which he thought right, but he would do it with the knowledge that Parliament might disapprove, and. as Senator Trenwith has said, make him " walk the plank."

Senator Trenwith - This is the equivalent of one of the alternatives presented by the honorable senator - a resolution of Parliament.

Senator MILLEN - I discussed that possibility, but I did notsubmit arequest which had no chance of finding a favorable reception. A resolution of Parliament is open to the objection I have mentioned ; but we must remember that Parliament works in the open, and the minority have at least some opportunity to make themselves heard, if not felt; whereas, in the case of a Minister working in his office, there is no publicity whatever.

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