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Tuesday, 12 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I did not think that it would be necessary for me to rise again and give a short resume or history of the business under discussion. A great many misleading statements have been made, whether deliberately or without knowledge I should not like to say. Every one must recognise that when industrial legislation of this kind was first enacted the work of the Registrar was very light. It was done by an officer of the Attorney-General's office for over two years - namely, by Mr. Gordon Castle. As soon as the work began to grow, Mr. Castle found he could not do it, in addition to his other duties. He therefore appealed to be relieved. Then the duties were carried out by an officer of the High Court. They continued to grow, and it has been found at last that to do justice' to the work itself, and to the officer, something ought to be done of the description which we are attempting under this Bill. Senators St. Ledger and Millen have questioned the responsible nature of the duties of this officer. They have contended that his functions are not of a judicial character at all. It would be well for both these honorable senators to learn something more of the matter on which they have sought to mislead others* 1 remind them that, by a statutory rule No. 102, of 1909, signed by Mr. Glynn, the Attorney-General of the Government they supported, the duties of the Registrar are laid down. He is empowered under that regulation to summon witnesses, to take evidence on oath, and to give costs to either party according to his discretion and the evidence given before him. Yet these honorable senators stand up, and for hours question a fact which has been apparent years ago to leading members of Cabinets which they either belonged to or supported.

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