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Tuesday, 12 December 1911

Senator SAYERS - Of course, it isbreaking the law. Every Judge has to take an oath to administer the law, and it is; not within his province to say that a law is right or wrong. That is the privilege of Parliament.

Senator Guthrie - We are saying that in the clause.

Senator SAYERS - No. What we say is that the Judge can break the law, and that after the law is broken the award shall lie on the table of each House for thirty days, and that if no objection is taken within a certain time his action is validated.

Senator Guthrie - That becomes the law.

Senator SAYERS - Does the honorable senator wish to put the Judges above Parliament ?

Senator Guthrie - They are, and you know it.

Senator Long - Before the award of the Court can take effect it will have to be tabled in each House.

Senator SAYERS - Before the award can take effect the President of the Court must break the law. The award will have to lie on the table of each House for thirty days, and unless some exception is taken, Parliament will be deemed to have condoned the violation. The proposal is most absurd.

Senator Long - You have not read the clause.

Senator SAYERS - In my secondreading speech I referred to this provision, which, I think, I have read as often as has the honorable senator. The Bill is an absurdity from the beginning to the end. Practically, in this clause power is given to the Judge to break the law. I do not think that any suggestion from this side has been accepted, except one, which came from Senator Symon, and, of course, it is the exception which makes the rule. On the second reading Senator Vardon called attention to this provision, and so did other honorable senators on this side. Honorable senators supporting the Government were prepared to swallow the Bill as it stood, but in Committee Senators McDougall and Rae consider that it is in need of amendment. I do not intend to labour this matter, because I realize that to do so would be simply to waste time. The Government are not prepared to accept any suggestion from this side, and upon them and their followers let the responsibility for this legislation rest.

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