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Thursday, 31 July 1930

Senator DALY (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I do not know that there is any real vital objection to the amendment, but, if I were a conciliation commissioner, I should prefer that the obligation rested on the Executive Council to submit the matter to both Houses of Parliament.

Senator DALY - Under the honorable senator's proposal it seems to me that it would be a case of the first House that got in with a resolution. If, in another place, the Leader of the Oppositionmoves a motion that a suspended commissioner be restored to his office, and the motion is negatived, and a similar motion is carried in this chamber, what is likely to happen? The honorable senator knows that it was resolved at the latest Imperial Conference that the Governor-General is bound to accept the advice of the Prime Minister.

Senator McLachlan - So far as it is within the law.

Senator DALY - The Prime Minister would have to advise the GovernorGeneral whether he should confirm the suspension of the conciliation commissioner, according to the decisionof the House ofRepresentatives or restore him to his office in accordance with the decision of the Senate. What advice could he give the Governor-General?

Senator McLachlan - He must obey the law and advise the Governor-General to restore the commissioner in accordance with the resolution of the Senate, praying for the restoration of the Commissioner to his office.

Senator DALY - I candidly admit that if the provision is amended, as suggested by Senator Colebatch, a complication may arise.

Senator Sir George Pearce - It is not possible for itto arise.

Senator DALY - As Senator Pearce has had so many years more ministerial experience than I have had, I bow to his declaration on the point and must oppose the amendment.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) [4.11]. - I agree with Senator Colebatch that the previous amendment was of a minor character, but I do not agree that the amendment he has now moved may be similarly described. It opens up a most difficult position. If the grounds upon which a conciliation commissioner has been sus

Senator Sir Hal Colebatch - Not at all. The suspension becomes automatically cancelled.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.But there must be an order in council removing the suspension. I think that this is a case in which the decision of Parliament should be obtained. The trouble is that in this bill the Government has departed from the procedure laid down for the removal of judges by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament.

Senator GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The same procedure applies in regard to the removal of the Auditor-General.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.I cannot see why it cannot be adopted in this case. I cannot support the amendment.

Senator SirHAL COLEBATCH (Western Australia) [4.12]. - I cannot understand the argument of Senator Pearce. In order to test it, let us suppose that an amendment is made in the act under which the Auditor-General is appointed by which he may be suspended and not restored to his office unless by the direct motion of both Houses of Parliament. Yet that is exactly the position set up by this clause, exactly the opposite to the procedure that must be adopted in removing judges or an Auditor-General. A judge may not be removed except upon a motion carried in both Houses of Parliament. Under this bill a conciliation commissioner, a person who is acting as a judge, may be removed from his office, and his removal stands if it is endorsed by only one House, whereas my amendment provides that if either House says that a commissioner must be restored to his office, he is automatically restored to it without any reference to the Governor-General. He does not come into the picture until a commissioner is to be permanently removed. The position I want established is that which we have always maintained in regard tothe framing of ordinances or regulations - that either House shall be at liberty to disallow an ordinanceor regulation. I say that either House should be at liberty to disallow the suspension from office of a person exercising the responsible position of a judge. It is idle to suggest that I am trying to set up something contrary to the practice in regard to judges and the Auditor-General, when, as a matter of fact, I am endeavouringto preserve the position that neither a judge nor an Auditor-General may be dismissed from office except with the concurrence of both Houses of Parliament.. The position I want to set up is that a commissioner exercising the functions of a judge shall not be dismissed unless both Houses concur, and I do so by means of my amendment, which makes it competent for either House to insist upon the restoration of the suspended commissioner to his office.

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