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Thursday, 19 December 1912

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - In making provision of this character we are adopting a somewhat novel expedient in legislation. Under the new section11, which is embodied in this clause, itis proposed to make provision that the " Minister may make application to the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration or to the Judge of a Federal or State Court." It will be seen at once that this is optional on the part of the Minister. Paragraph 2 provides -

On the hearing and determination of the application, the President, Judge, person or persons shall have all the powers which under the Excise Procedure Act1907 belong to the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration . . . and so on. There is nothing in the clause which makes it obligatory upon the Court to give any determination whatever, or to make any response to the application of. the Minister. Every Justice of the High Court, when application is made to him within the scope of his judical responsibility, has placed upon him a constitutional obligation to respond. But we are now establishing a new expedient. We are endowing the Minister with power, which he must exercise in his own discretion, to apply to the High Court, or to a corresponding Court, but we are not providing that the application must be responded to. There will be nothing to prevent a. Justice of the High Court or any State industrial tribunal from refusing to answer an application. I think this deficiency should be supplied.

Clause agreed to.

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