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Tuesday, 12 December 1911

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - Senator Stewart has fallen into the error of assuming that, because this officer is not a qualified legal practitioner, he is not called upon to discharge judicial functions. But I have seen men placed in important legal positions who were not at all qualified to fill them from a legal standpoint.

Senator Stewart - I did not mention that at all. I said that the position is not a judicial one.

Senator DE LARGIE - In Western Australia, I saw a man who had been only a miner nearly all his life filling the office of the Attorney-General in the first Labour Ministry there; and I can assure Senator Stewart that he was a thorough success.

Senator St Ledger - But no AttorneyGeneral exercises judicial functions.

Senator DE LARGIE - That gentleman had been a miner all his life, and yet, when he had charge of' the administration of the Mines Department of that State he was not nearly so successful as when he filled the office of Attorney-General.

Senator Millen - According to the honorable senator's argument, the shoemaker ought not to stick to his last.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am giving an example which goes to prove that there are exceptions to the rule.

Senator St Ledger - But no AttorneyGeneral can exercise a single judicial func- tion. Almost any schoolboy knows that.

Senator DE LARGIE - A wellconducted schoolboy would make no such interjection. I am pointing out a case of a man who was not legally qualified for the office of Attorney-General, but who, nevertheless, efficiently discharged the duties of that position. The Industrial Registrar, whose office we are now considering, has had very important duties to perform. We all recollect the important Jumbunna registration case. He had to give a decision upon that. It was argued by some of the most prominent King's Counsel in the State, including Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Gavan Duffy. The Registrar had to decide whether that union was entitled to registration or not. Another important case - the Railway Servants' case - also came before him. That case afterwards went before the High Court, which held that the State railway servants could not be brought within the purview of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbi tration Act. That matter, too, was argued before some of the most prominent legal men in Australia, including Mr. Shand, K.C. ; Mr. Mitchell, K.C. ; Mr. W. H. . Irvine, K.C; Professor Harrison Moore, and Mr. Holman, the present AttorneyGeneral of Western Australia. I think I have shown conclusively that the Industrial Registrar has work of a semi-judicial character to perform, and that, consequently, the provision made for his office in this Bill is abundantly justified.

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