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1898 Australasian Federation Conference



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[Continue page 2439]

WEDNESDAY, 16TH MARCH, 1898.

Commonwealth of Australia Bill: Drafting Committee's Amendments.

The PRESIDENT took the chair at fourteen minutes past eleven o'clock a.m.

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA BILL.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I desire to lay upon the table a copy of the Commonwealth of Australia Bill, as revised by the Drafting Committee, and to move that it be printed. I may say, Mr. President, that the print of the Bill, if this motion is carried, will be in a similar form to the print that was given on a former occasion, namely, it will contain on the left hand side the Bill as last reported, and on the right-hand side the Bill as proposed to be further amended by the Drafting Committee. I propose to take, in the usual formal way, the motion that this Bill, as revised by the Drafting Committee, be printed. After obtaining an instruction to the committee on the Bill that they may deal with a free hand with the Drafting Committee's amendments, I propose then to move that the Convention adjourn until two o'clock. My reason for this is to effect a saving of time. Honorable members will see that the Drafting Committee have bestowed a very great deal of labour upon the Bill in the limited time in which it has been permitted them to make such alterations in mere form as seemed to them to be advisable in this final stage. Honorable members will recollect that in Sydney the Drafting Committee had little or no time for any of the work of revision. From the beginning of our consideration of the Bill in Adelaide, until last Friday, there has been a very large number of suggestions as to drafting amendments, for which the committee have to express their utmost thanks to the honorable members who have assisted them. It has thus become necessary for the Drafting Committee to bestow an extraordinary amount of attention, in the few days that have elapsed since Saturday, to the form which it is considered the Bill should finally assume, so far as the technical work of the measure is concerned. Honorable members will know, when they have gone through this long schedule of amendments, that the sense of the Bill has been preserved,-upon which I cannot ask them to proceed at once-and when they compare these amendments with the Bill as printed last Friday. I think I am right in stating, exercising my memory at short notice, that there has been only one amendment in substance [start page 2440] made to which I desire, when the time comes, to call the attention of the committee, and that is an amendment with reference to one of the disqualification clauses. I need not dilate upon that amendment now, but it is the substitution of "one year" for "three years" in respect of that disqualification, which only lasts whilst the person is under sentence for some offence. That amendment is in clause 44. In everything else, while honorable members may sometimes think the Drafting Committee have freely interpreted the instructions given to them, they will nevertheless find that either the meaning of the amendment is plain upon a comparison of it with the Bill as it stood before, or they will find when there is any apparent difference that the questions asked and answered and the explanations given in debate have accounted for the difference, and that the Drafting Committee has, in all instances, endeavoured to faithfully interpret the wishes of honorable members. I now beg to move-

That the Bill, as revised by the Drafting Committee, be printed.

I shall follow that motion up in a minute or two by asking that the Convention do adjourn until two o'clock, so that honorable members may have time to look over this schedule of 15 pages of drafting amendments. As I previously said, I cannot expect honorable members to go through the Bill as amended by the Drafting Committee at once, without a great deal of discussion which otherwise

would be avoided. If we undertake this labour at once, I think I can promise honorable members that before we have gone through this schedule of amendments, a great deal of debate will take place which would be saved if honorable members took two or three hours to compare the amendments with the Bill.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I now beg to move-

That the standing orders be suspended for the purpose of enabling instructions to the committee to be moved and dealt with.

If that is agreed to, I will then propose a motion to the effect that the committee of the whole have leave to adopt the Drafting Committee's amendments either in one resolution or in so many resolutions as it thinks fit. That will give the committee a perfectly free hand to deal with the Drafting Committee's amendments.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I beg to move-

That it he an instruction to the committee of the whole that they have leave to deal with the amendments proposed by the Drafting Committee either by one resolution or by such resolutions as the committee see fit.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-Without any formal motion, sir, I would suggest that you should now suspend the sitting of the Convention until two o'clock this afternoon.

[The President left the chair at twenty minutes past eleven o'clock a.m. The Convention resumed at two o’clock p.m.]

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).I beg to move-

That the President do now leave the chair, and the Convention resolve itself into committee of the whole to consider the Bill as proposed to be amended by the Drafting Committee, together with a new clause, 101A.

The new clause is in print, and, I think, has been distributed. An important clause was carried at the instance of Sir Edward Braddon, which, I think, finds itself numbered in the present print as 87, on the right-hand page; it was 91A, I think, on the left-hand page. Sir Edward Braddon empowers me to say that he wishes a slight amendment to be made in the clause, and I would like to ask you, sir, whether, under the motion I am moving, it will be competent for the committee to deal with that clause, otherwise I might move an instruction to the committee to have power to deal with it?

The PRESIDENT.-Is it proposed by the Drafting Committee to amend clause 91A?

[start page 2441] Mr. BARTON.-I should be very glad, sir, if the other members of the Drafting Committee do not object, to accept the amendment, but then I am afraid that it involves in some degree a question of policy. I do not think any honorable member wished to re-open any matter which has been decided. If it be the understanding of the Convention that there is no desire to re-open any other matter, I might move that they be empowered to reconsider this question at the same time

The PRESIDENT.-The motion will be that the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of considering the schedule of amendments of the Drafting Committee, and also new clause 101A and clause 91A.

Mr. GLYNN.-Would that stop members from suggesting amendments to clauses as they are now redrafted!

Mr. BARTON.-Oh, no. Perhaps I have not made myself clear. I intend to propose that the amendments in the schedule laid on the table be accepted, and then to suggest, if any honorable member wishes to take exception to any of the amendments, he might move to amend the resolutions seriatim, with the exception of so-and so.

Mr. ISAACS.-We will have to take a good deal on trust.

Mr. BARTON.-I felt that the great difficulty was that there was a large number of drafting amendments. On the other hand, we are all very anxious not to delay the proceedings so as to impede the departure of Sir John Forrest and the other representatives of Western Australia. That is why, on the one hand, I ask the Convention not to go on at once, in order that honorable members may have time to consider the amendments. I am glad to see Sir Richard Baker rise, because I should like to have an expression of opinion from him as to whether the course I have suggested is not the more convenient one.

Sir RICHARD BAKER (South Australia).-I would point out that, inasmuch as the motion which has been moved might involve very serious responsibility on the Chairman of Committees, the motion ought to be put in a more definite form. I would suggest that Mr. Barton alter his motion to the effect that the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of considering the amendments which are in print, and consequent amendments thereon. If a wider scope be given-

Mr. HOWE.-We would never get away.

Sir RICHARD BAKER.-We would never get away. If amendments can be moved on amendments which are not consequent thereon, we might re-open many questions we have already decided. I respectfully Suggest that it would relieve the Chairman of Committees of much responsibility if the motion were altered in the manner I suggest. As to the two specific clauses mentioned, we might have a wider scope and could discuss questions of policy, but as to the drafting amendments we ought to be limited to these and to consequent amendments thereon.

Mr. HOWE (South Australia).-I have great pleasure in supporting the position taken by the leader (Mr. Barton), and to expedite business I shall give every support I possibly can. There are some members of the Convention who, if they stayed till the Day of Judgment would still have amendments to propose. The proposition of the leader is one that should be supported by this Convention.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-If Sir Richard Baker's suggestion meets with approval it would be wise for me to modify my motion in the way he suggests, and move that the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of reconsidering the amendments in the printed schedule, together with amendments consequent thereon.

Mr. SYMON.-Or incidental thereto.

Mr. BARTON.-"Consequent thereon would be the same. Remembering that we have also to consider the new clause to take the place of 91A and the new clause 101A. The proposal of the latter is in fulfilment of a promise made on behalf of the [start page 2442] Drafting Committee-a promise which was overlooked by the committee at the last moment.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-I think it would be better to insert the words "or incidental thereto." "Consequent thereon" means something naturally following upon the amendment; but so

long as I understand that "consequent thereon" includes "or incidental thereto" I am satisfied. Suppose an amendment has been adopted, and the Convention thought some other word might be added with a view of giving further expression to the meaning, that would not be "consequent thereon" but an amendment incidental thereto.

Mr. BARTON.-I feel sure the Chairman would interpret it as an amendment consequent thereon.

The PRESIDENT.-I take it that the words "consequent thereon" have a strict parliamentary meaning. The words mean an amendment necessitated by the previous amendment, and do not mean the introduction of an alternative amendment. If it is desired that the Convention should have power not only to consider whether or not these particular amendments should be adopted, and, if they are adopted, to make further amendments necessitated by the adoption of these amendments, but also to consider alternative suggestions to amendments proposed by the Drafting Committee, it will require the introduction of such words as are suggested by Mr. Symon. That, of course, is a matter for the Chairman of Committees.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-do not think Mr. Symon wishes to go so far. Mr. Symon wishes to be able to move an amendment not only consequent in the strictest sense, but also an amendment which might be regarded as something incidental, and not in the strictest sense consequent. I take it that Mr. Symon might wish to move the omission of a word in a drafting amendment.

Mr. SYMON-Yes.

Mr. BARTON.-I have no objection if that be the sense of the Convention. It is a question of time, and the question of time is important. I do not feel disposed myself to ask the Convention to open the door any wider. I know very well that under the statute we shall probably have to hold a meeting to-morrow, and for that sitting we shall require a quorum. It is almost certain that if we are kept here another day or two we shall lose the opportunity of having a quorum at all. I would, therefore, not like to extend the matter any further than meets the obvious necessities of the case.

Sir JOHN DOWNER (South Australia).-I understood that the Convention had come to the conclusion simply to make the amendments necessary to put in more precise form the intentions of the committee, and that there was no intention on the part of anybody to re-open questions already carefully discussed. So far as the suggestions of the Drafting Committee are concerned, all that that committee has endeavoured to do is to put the wishes of the Convention in more concise and complete form; and if we are to have these amended and old questions reopened-if the discussions are not simply to be on matters of form, but if alternative propositions are to be made, then I shall have to oppose that idea. I hope that the Convention will support us in taking the course that will enable us to arrive at finality.

Sir JOHN FORREST (Western Australia).-I think it was generally understood that the time for making important amendments in this Constitution had passed by. Of course, I am aware that under our ordinary parliamentary procedure the Bill can be amended at any stage, but we have had so many opportunities given to us for amendment that it was understood that all the amendments honorable members desired to make had been placed before the Convention. On this understanding many honorable members have already left the Convention, and I [start page 2443] take it that in good faith all that we should now attempt to do is criticise the wording of the clause. I do not feel that it is competent, and, certainly, I myself should not feel that I was at liberty to propose amendments for altering this Bill in any way. For that reason I do not view with favour the proposal of my honorable friend, acting, as I understand, for the Premier of Tasmania, that opportunity should be given for altering the Bill, unless in a way that will not alter the sense at the same time. Indeed, I think that is all my right honorable friend-desires.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON.-Hear, hear.

Sir JOHN FORREST.-To make it a little more condensed and more simple.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON.-And more elastic.

Sir JOHN FORREST.-If that can be arranged no one can object, but I do appeal to honorable members to agree that we should not be acting properly if we tried to amend the Bill in any important respect. Our duty now lies in the direction of criticising the amendments of the Drafting Committee if there be room for criticism; and the opportunities I have had suggest to me that there is very little room for criticism of the work of the Drafting Committee in endeavouring to carry out the wishes of the Convention.

The PRESIDENT.-I shall put the motion in the following form:-

That the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of considering the schedule of amendments prepared by the Drafting Committee and any consequent amendments thereon; also for the purpose of considering clause 91A and the new clause to be proposed-101A.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-Suppose an amendment by the Drafting Committee is rejected, will it be competent for us to substitute anything for it?

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I should say that that will be so. Having had a conference with the Chairman of Committees, I take it that all difficulties will disappear, and that we need not trouble ourselves about this stage, because we shall have every proper opportunity of considering the matter. I take it that if any honorable member desires to challenge an amendment he can do so, and that the Chairman can put the remaining amendments.

The PRESIDENT.-I am inclined to think that on the rejection of an amendment suggested by the Drafting Committee, the proposal of some new provision would not be a consequential amendment.

The motion was agreed to.

The Convention then resolved itself into committee of the whole for the purpose of considering the schedule of amendments suggested by the Drafting Committee, and clause 91A, and new clause 101A.

The CHAIRMAN.-I have to report to the committee that we have an instruction for leave to consider the Drafting Committee's suggested amendments, which are in print, and to adopt them either in globo or seriatim; to consider any consequential amendment made thereon; and also to reconsider clause 91A, and to insert a new clause, 101A. What I propose to do, if the leader of the Convention will move to that effect, is to put the question that the whole of the amendments in print be adopted, and then, if any honorable member wishes to debate any particular amendment, I shall put it that all the amendments of the Drafting Committee, down to the one which an honorable member wishes to discuss, be agreed to. We can then consider that particular amendment, and can continue the same course of procedure until we have finished the whole of the Drafting Committee's suggestions.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).Acting on your suggestion, sir, I now beg to move, pro forma-

That the amendments suggested by the Drafting Committee, and contained in the printed schedule, be now adopted.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-I think that this course will turn out to be very inconvenient. We have a very [start page 2444] extensive schedule of amendments, and since this Convention adjourned this morning at half-past eleven, the South Australian representatives have been sitting to consider them, but have only been able to reach as far as clause 55 or 60. Each one of us may wish to raise

some particular point, and I think it will be better to go through the amendments as quickly as you please. It may be that every honorable member may wish to ask a question about some one amendment.

Sir JOHN FORREST.-We can ask.

Mr. SYMON.-When we get the opportunity, but it will be impossible if the clauses are taken in globo.

Mr. BARTON.-That is subject to what I have explained-that is to say, if any honorable member challenges a particular amendment, the Chairman will only put the amendments down to that point.

Mr. SYMON.-Quite so-but an honorable member may wish not to challenge an amendment, but to get some information regarding it.

Mr. BARTON.-Then I shall suggest challenging the amendment until the information is given.

Mr. SYMON-It would be better to take the amendments seriatim.

Mr. BARTON.-It will take us three weeks to do that.

Mr. SYMON.-I am sure it will not. It will take much longer if we have to ask questions as to the meaning of each particular amendment, as we may have to do simply to be sure that nothing has been allowed to escape. Honorable members must realize that we have now reached a very serious stage in our proceedings. We are all anxious to get through our work as quickly as possible, but the Bill is now to pass from our hands for the last time. I think it would be more convenient to honorable members if the amendment were put seriatim.

Mr. BARTON.-There are 400 amendments, and we do not want a separate motion about every "the" and every "but."

Dr. COCKBURN (South Australia).-I admit that if we had to consider the 400 amendments seriatim, that would be almost equal to recommencing our labours. We might meet the wishes of the Hon. Mr. Symon by taking, not the amendments, but the clauses, separately. In some instances there are as many as ten or twelve amendments in a clause. A heavy responsibility rests, not only on the Drafting Committee, but on every member of the Convention; and if any mistake is made now, it must remain for all time. The way in which the amendments have been made reflects great credit on the Drafting Committee, but some of them come very near to alterations in substance, and every opportunity should be afforded to honorable members of calling attention to them.

Sir JOHN FORREST (Western Australia).-I understand that every honorable member will have the opportunity of calling attention to a particular amendment, and no injury can therefore be done by putting them in globo. If an honorable member says that be desires to speak to an amendment; in clause 3 or 4, the Chairman will put the amendments in the preceding clauses.

Mr. ISAACS (Victoria).-I can understand that there would be a difficulty in putting the amendments seriatim. At the same time, we must recognise that honorable members have not had the opportunity that they would desire of satisfying themselves as to the various amendments. If the Hon. Mr. Barton assures us that they are merely drafting amendments we may rely on what be says. If there are any that are not drafting amendments, and he would call our attention to them, we could consider them. That might meet the case.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I think I shall have the support of my colleagues on the Drafting Committee in saying that we are not conscious of having altered the sense or the intention of the committee-always taking into [start page 2445] account that we had to gather the intention from

the debate-excepting with reference to a disqualification in clause 45, where we altered three years to one year, subject, of course, to the subsequent approval of the committee. We did so, because if some alteration of the kind were not made a person in gaol might be eligible to be elected to the Federal Parliament, and we thought that if the matter had been pointed out to the committee they would have made the alteration themselves. I feel very like the man who kept the ale-house in Belgium, and who put over his door the words-"Good beer sold here, but do not take my word for it." I do not want the committee to take my word for it, but, as I have said, my definite opinion is, and it is shared by other members of the Drafting Committee, that there are very serious alterations in drafting, as, for instance, in the Judiciary clauses. The whole scheme of those clauses is altered but the result is the same. Perhaps it would be better for me to move-

That the Drafting Committee's amendments from 1 to 50 be agreed to.

That will place before the committee one part of the Bill, and will give honorable members an opportunity of challenging any amendment in clauses 1 to 50.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-I desire to call attention to clause 9.

The CHAIRMAN.-Then I will put the question that the Drafting Committee's amendments in clauses 1 to 8 be agreed to.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 1 to 8 were agreed to.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-I wish to refer particularly to clause 10. Under that clause as it originally stood the Parliament of the Commonwealth would make laws prescribing the times, places, and uniform manner for electing senators. In the interval, unless these laws are made by the Parliament of the Commonwealth, the Parliament of the state determines these matters. Under the proposed amendment the Parliament of the Commonwealth may make laws prescribing the method of choosing the senators. This is only the alteration of a word, but the point I wish to direct attention to is, that the proposed amendment then withdraws from the Parliament of the Commonwealth the power, given by the existing clause 10, of making laws for determining the times and places of elections of senators by the state, and it gives that power exclusively to the state. That is an alteration of substance, and the question is, whether the Convention desires that. All I wish to observe upon it is that it will practically have the effect of giving additional legislation as to the method of choosing senators. The Parliament of the Commonwealth will prescribe the manner and everything incidental to the manner, whilst the Parliament of the state, in relation to the same work, will prescribe the times and places of elections. That is a matter of substance. This drafting amendment involves a very serious matter of substance, whether we agree with it or not. Of course I prefer the thing as it stood, that everything relating to the conduct of the elections for the Senate should be determinable exclusively, if they exercise the power, by the Federal Parliament.

Mr. BARTON.-It was never so determinable.

Mr. SYMON.-I think so, under clause 10.

Mr. BARTON.-Not as it stood. It only said times, places, and manner, with the whole body of existing electoral laws untouched.

Mr. SYMON.-No doubt. Perhaps my honorable friend will tell me whether the effect of the amendment is not to divide this power of prescribing with regard to the election of senators between the Parliament of the Commonwealth and the Parliament of the states, the Parliament of the Commonwealth having power to deal with the "method"-which I think is a great improvement on the word "manner"-and the Parliament of the [start page 2446] state having power absolutely to determine the times and places of election?

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I think my honorable friend's interpretation is about correct. What occurred with the Drafting Committee was this-they altered "manner" into "method," in order that not only what might ordinarily be described as the manner might be included, but that the Parliament of the Commonwealth might prescribe something which more nearly approached to a system. There is a difference between manner and method, because method more reasonably describes a system. It came, therefore, more nearly to the expressed wish of the committee that there should be no prevention of the Parliament of the Commonwealth legislating, if they so please, for some system of representation which might suit the progressive tendency of the Commonwealth.

Mr. HIGGINS.-Hare's system, for instance.

Mr. BARTON.-It might be Hare's system or some other of the many systems which have been suggested. It was thought that, whatever the opinion of one or other member of the committee might be, the power, at any rate, should be in the hands of the Commonwealth. So, as to substance, we have somewhat extended the power by using "method" instead of manner," but to what degree would be a matter of opinion among honorable members.

Mr. DEAKIN.-That was in response to a request by the committee.

Mr. BARTON.-Yes. There was a general expression of opinion. Then, as to time and place, we say that, having amended clause 10, we have widened the area of the laws in force in each state, and that was done at a previous stage, making all the electoral laws apply with the exception of the time and place. With regard to the alteration from "manner" to "method," we thought that was a matter of detail, which might safely be left to the states, who will really know the most convenient way to arrange the times and places of elections. This will alter the times and places. This alteration crept in since 1891. In 1891 the power of the Parliament of the Commonwealth was simply to deal with a uniform manner of election. Since then there has been an alteration as to time and place; but that was at a time when the operations of the electoral law which were to apply in the election of the Senate were strictly defined and enumerated. We thought it wiser at the previous stage to open up new ground by making all the electoral laws applicable. As time and place were ordinary incidents of the election laws, and would not be within the knowledge of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, we thought it better that that power should be left to the states. I forgot to mention that the great difference between the Bill of 1891 and this Bill is that in the Bill of 1891 the election was to be by the Parliaments of the states. Even in the Bill of 1891 it was prescribed that the Commonwealth should fix the time and place as well as the manner, and there would be practically no inconvenience, but there would be inconvenience here, inasmuch as the whole thing is to be by popular election under the state electoral laws, unless it was practically under the management of those who have the local knowledge.

Mr. ISAACS (Victoria).-I should like to point out one matter which I think is deserving of attention. I agree with my honorable friend that the word "method" goes further than the word "manner," but I am not sure that the word "manner" is not the right one, if the word would have the extended application it might have. If it includes the power to prescribe that the Senate may be elected by the Parliament of the state, I think it is a mistake.

Mr. BARTON.-Until the Commonwealth legislates.

Mr. ISAACS.-Under new clause 9, would it not be competent for the Parliament of the Commonwealth to provide [start page 2447] that the Senate might be elected by the Parliaments of the states?

Mr. BARTON.-No. That would be in conflict with old clause 9.

Mr. ISAACS.-I was going to call attention to the fact that if "method" goes beyond "manner," and provides something more than that, should not some such words be put in as were put in before to the effect "subject to the provisions of the Constitution."

Mr. BARTON.-I quite see the point that my honorable friend wishes to urge, but a court would have to read these words so that there would be no repugnancy.

Mr. ISAACS.-If my honorable friend is satisfied about that, it is all right. I was going to call attention to the fact that the previous clause provides for election by the people.

Mr. BARTON.-The two will have to be read together, and I do not think any court would say there was any repugnancy, because the court would be bound to go the other way.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 9 and 10 were agreed to.

Dr. COCKBURN (South Australia).-I would ask the leader of the Convention whether the words "all persons of any race," which occur in new clause 25, do not go further than the words "people of any race"? The difficulty which presents itself to my mind is this: Suppose a state desires to make a law prohibiting the people of any race from exercising the franchise, and that at the present time there happens to be a member of that race naturalized, and in full possession of the franchise and voting, it would, of course, be impossible to disqualify that individual, and the question arises whether the words "all persons of any race" would not make the clause inoperative, for it would he impossible for the state to pass such a law as I speak of, because of the unfairness of disqualifying an individual. I ask the honorable and learned gentleman if the amendment is not a little more than a mere drafting amendment? I would also point out that clause 27 speaks of "the last preceding section." That was correct as the Bill previously stood, but since these further amendments have been made, it would be better to use the words "in section 24."

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I am not able to appreciate any real difference between the meaning of the phrase "the people of any race" and "all persons of any race." As a matter of drafting we have tried to use the word people where the people of the Commonwealth or the people of a state are referred to-the, law-making people. Where other people are referred to we have used the phrase "the people of any race." The other matter to which my honorable and learned friend has called attention requires alteration. A slip has occurred, and the words "in section 24" should be used in place of the words "in the last preceding section."

The CHAIRMAN.-That is a correction that can be made by the Chairman.

Mr. BARTON.-Then I will ask you to make it, sir.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 24 to 40 were agreed to.

Mr. HOLDER (South Australia).-I want to ask the leader of the Convention whether, under the wording of clause 44, which I think is an improvement, as redrafted, upon the former clause, any one who had the right of the franchise, and who could vote at elections for either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, could also maintain his right to vote upon a referendum for the alteration of the Constitution? Instead of the words-

Be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth,

I would like to see the clause read-

Be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting under this Constitution.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-The phrase "voting under this Constitution" might be a little too wide, because under the Constitution other laws might be made under which a person would [start page 2448] come, but from which he would be excepted for these special purposes. I propose to add the words "or in respect of a proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution."

Mr. HIGGINS.-The case is covered by the last clause of the Bill.

Mr. BARTON.-Yes. That clause provides that any proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution-

Shall be submitted in each state to the electors qualified to vote for the election of members of the House of Representatives.

The clause originally read:-

No elector who has at the establishment of the Commonwealth, or who afterwards, being an adult, acquires the right to vote.

The Drafting Committee have made that to read-

No adult person who has or acquires a right to vote at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of a state,

and so on. Honorable members will find a similar alteration in other parts of the Bill.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 44A and 45 were agreed to.

Dr. COCKBURN (South Australia).-Under clause 46 the seat of a member of either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth becomes vacant if any work is done or services rendered by him in Parliament for or on behalf of any person or corporation. The Drafting Committee's amendment, however, will make the clause read-

Services rendered in the Parliament to any person or state.

I want to know whether the singular word "person" includes the plural, and if the word would apply to corporations? If it does not apply to corporations, the omission of that word is an alteration in substance which cannot have been intended.

Mr. HOLDER (South Australia).-I should like to ask another question. There is nothing in the Bill empowering the Speaker or President to receive a salary for his work in either office. Yet, it is to be presumed, as the offices are created under the Constitution, such salary will be paid under the Constitution. Neither is there a reference to the position of the Chairman of Committees. I should like to know whether sub-section (3) will prevent the Chairman of Committees from receiving a salary?

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-No, there would be no prohibition in that respect. The offices of Speaker and Chairman of Committees are not offices of profit under the Crown. They are parliamentary offices, and Parliament has always retained a power over its own Estimates to the extent that really the Speaker and President of the local Chambers have always exercised a right to submit their own Estimates, and those Estimates, as a rule, as far as I know in practice in my own colony, are altogether untouched by the Government of the day. Now, these are political offices, but not offices of profit under the Crown. I think that that is the principle that Parliament has always asserted in England and elsewhere. As to the word "person," the British Interpretation Act of 1889, which will be largely applied to the construction of this statute by the Imperial authorities, provides that where the word "person" is used, unless the Act otherwise provides, the word "corporation" shall be included.

Mr. HIGGINS (Victoria).-If a man agrees to get paid for services done in Parliament, or for the Commonwealth, and if he does the work, and, having done the work, he resigns, is there no penalty? Is there no punishment in such a case for a man who guarantees that he will use his position in Parliament in order to make money, and, having made it, resigns!

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-No; and there is a reason for that. If I recollect correctly there was some provision in the Bill in Adelaide in that respect, but that provision was omitted in the sitting of the Convention at Sydney as a matter [start page 2449] of policy. Mr. O'Connor suggests that it is quite probable that in such a case an action would lie at common law. However that may be, the policy of inserting such a provision was reversed in Sydney, and therefore the Drafting Committee could not frame any proposal to that effect.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 46 to 51 inclusive were agreed to.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).-I desire to ask the leader of the Convention whether he thinks it advisable to strike out of clause 52 the provision in regard to navigation and shipping?

Mr. BARTON.-We have provided for it elsewhere.

Mr. GLYNN.-Yes; I see that it is provided for in clause 97, which now reads as follows:-

The power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to trade and commerce extends to navigation and shipping, and to railways the property of any state.

The only point I have some doubt about is that I think navigation and shipping in the Canadian Act refers to something very different from trade and commerce. In the Canadian Act they use the words "trade and commerce," but there is a separate section dealing with navigation and shipping.

Mr. BARTON.-That is quite correct.

Mr. GLYNN.-And if I am not mistaken it refers to the relations that would crop up under the Merchant Shipping Act as to the load-line, the character of the ships in the trade and commerce as carried on, and so forth, and not to the mere matter of trade and commerce, which is the intention of the trade and commerce clause in this Bill.

Mr. BARTON.-No, not mere trade and commerce, but legislation with regard to trade and commerce of all sorts.

Mr. GLYNN.-Yes; general laws as to the class of vessels that usually carry goods and passengers between different places. For instance, as to whether they should be on the principle that the Plimsoll Act determines, namely, that there should be only a certain number of tons taken by certain vessels, and that there should be an indication of the load-line of all vessels, and as to questions of that sort. All these matters, it seems to me, come under "navigation and shipping," and it would be competent for the Parliament to deal with them in the same way as it now deals with merchant shipping. However, I may be mistaken on that point; but I think that that is the reason why there is a separate section in the Canadian Act about navigation and shipping. As the clause now stands, that power arises incidentally out of the power to regulate trade and commerce generally.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-What the Drafting Committee have done here is this: Legislation as to navigation and shipping may in ordinary be regarded as mere legislation in regard to trade and commerce. There may be some doubt about that. In the British North American Act a separate power of navigation and shipping is taken. Whether the matter would relate to the Plimsoll load-line or otherwise does not create a very serious doubt, but if it did the declaration as to the extent of the power given by the trade and commerce provisions effectually removes the doubt. So in clause

97, about the power of the Parliament in respect to trade and commerce, it was stated originally that this extends to railways the property of any state, but we now provide that the power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to trade and commerce "extends to navigation and shipping, and to railways the property of any state." Therefore, any doubt as to the trade and commerce clause regarding the navigation and shipping is removed by that declaration as well as any doubt as to whether the state railways were like other railways, in regard to the trade and commerce clause. So that that declaration relieves us of the necessity of inserting this proviso, and really leaves the trade and commerce clause in a far stronger [start page 2450] and less limited position than it otherwise would be, because the mere declaration we have put in clause 97 instead of limiting makes clear the full extent of this power. There is no limit on the trade and commerce clause whatever, but anything said with reference to it makes not less clear its original extent. It makes it also clear that the provision goes to a certain extent at least.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clause 52 were agreed to.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clause 53 were agreed to.

Mr. ISAACS (Victoria).-There are some words in clause 54 to which I desire to draw the attention of the leader. In sub-section (4) it is provided, in the last sentence, with regard to the Senate's power of suggestion, that-

The House of Representatives may, if it thinks fit, make such omissions or amendments or any of them with or without modifications.

The words "if it thinks fit" are eliminated by the Drafting Committee. I do not know that it makes any legal difference in the meaning of the provision, but still I think that the words were put in there with the object of showing more clearly the difference between the power of suggestion and the power of amendment. And I think it will be well to retain the words. I do not think that there would be any legal difference, so far as I can see at the moment, if they were omitted, but they were put in with a very distinct object, and I am sure the presence of the words had weight with some honorable members, as showing that to grant the power of suggestion was not as great as to grant the power of amendment. I think it will be better to leave in the words.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-On this clause I should like to point out two things. First, instead of saying at the beginning-

Proposed laws appropriating any part of the public revenue or moneys, or imposing taxation shall originate in the House of Representatives, we have said-

Proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys or imposing taxation shall not originate in the Senate.

The object of that amendment is to make it clear that the first three paragraphs in clause 53 are intended as limitations on the power of the Senate, while the fourth paragraph is the power of suggestion, which has been, to some extent, a compensatory power granted under the Constitution. As to my honorable friend's suggestion, there is no real difference in the meaning of the Bill whether the words "if it thinks fit" are or are not inserted. Both the old form and the new form make it clear that the House of Representatives may do what it likes with suggested omissions or suggested amendments-that it can take them or reject them, or modify them and take them. I have no objection to the insertion of the words “I if it thinks fit " if my honorable friend thinks it really is an advisable thing to do.

Mr. ISAACS.-I think it is.

Mr. BARTON.-If my honorable friend thinks it is a politic thing to do, and he moves an amendment, I will accept it.

Mr. ISAACS.-I beg to move-

That the words "if it thinks fit" be inserted after the word "may" last occurring in subsection (4) of clause 53.

The amendment was agreed to.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clause 54, as amended, were agreed to.

Mr. ISAACS (Victoria).-I would like to ask my honorable friend (Mr. Barton) if he has considered whether the word Cc matter," in the first paragraph of clause 55, refers to taxation or to the imposition of taxation? The paragraph. reads:-

Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.

If it refers to taxation, it leaves a sort of hiatus. If the word "matter" means the imposition of taxation, it is perfect; but, [start page 2451] if it means other than taxation, it would leave untouched the question of taxation.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I quite appreciate what my honorable friend has suggested, but I think, on consideration, he will see that the words "any other matter" must refer to any other matter than the imposition of taxation. I have no doubt about it. I do not know whether my honorable friend retains any doubt about it, but I should think it is quite clear.

Mr. ISAACS.-If my honorable friend is clear about it, I am satisfied.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clause 55 were agreed to.

Clause 56.-A vote, resolution, or proposed law for the appropriation of revenue or moneys shall not be passed unless the purpose of the appropriation has in the same session been recommended by message of the Governor-General to the House in which the proposal originated.

Mr. KINGSTON (South Australia).-I would like to ask the leader of the Convention whether he thinks it would not be better, instead of using the words "to the House in which the proposal originated," to make the clause run-

Recommended by message of the Governor-General to the House of Representatives?

Mr. BARTON.-No, that is what the committee refused to accept.

Mr. ISAACS.-We moved that, and it was not accepted.

The CHAIRMAN.-That is not a drafting amendment.

Mr. KINGSTON.-Is not there any possibility of moving it now?

The CHAIRMAN.-No.

Mr. KINGSTON.-It raises a doubt as to what we mean.

Mr. BARTON.-I voted to confine it to the House of Representatives, but the committee of the whole thought otherwise, and we followed their decision.

Mr. KINGSTON.-In its present shape it raises a very considerable doubt as to the intention of the Bill. We provide in clause 53, in the clearest possible terms-in fact, it is almost a consequential amendment-that proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys "shall not originate in the Senate," whereas we had previously declared that they "shall originate in the House of Representatives." This clause, if continued in its present shape, would suggest that, as the Senate cannot originate laws for the appropriation of revenue or moneys, it may do something in that direction by votes or resolutions. Otherwise the form in which we find the provision is incapable of its fullest literal meaning, and I should be very glad to see an alteration made of the character which the leader desired.

The CHAIRMAN.-I do not think any such amendment can be put. We have a mandate from the Convention to consider drafting amendments suggested by the Drafting Committee, and amendments consequent thereon of a drafting nature only, with the exception of two clauses; and the amendment which has been suggested by the committee seems to me to be identical in meaning with that arrived at by the Convention.

Mr. KINGSTON.-I bow most cheerfully to your ruling, sir. I was only venturing to point out the position.

Mr. BARTON.-I should have been glad if it had been the other way, but of course it has been decided.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clause 56 were agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I would like to ask you, sir, to omit three words from the amendment Suggested by the Drafting Committee in the third paragraph of clause 57. It will not interfere with any one else's amendment, because it is a clerical one. In the last line but three of the clause it says-

If the proposed law with the amendments, if any, so carried, is affirmed by a majority of three-fifths of the members present and voting thereon.

I think the words "a majority of" were struck out in the committee. At any rate, they are unnecessary, and we have not [start page 2452] used them in the prior part of the clause; and I would ask you, sir, to leave them out, so that it may read "If the proposed law is affirmed by three-fifths," which is quite sufficient, I think, for the purpose. It is just a clerical alteration, and we perhaps had no right to put it in.

Mr. ISAACS (Victoria).-There is just one case I would like to put before Mr. Barton, and to ask him whether he has considered it. This clause is a little bit complicated altogether.

Mr. BARTON.-We have tried to make the clause less complicated, but the complication is inherent in the nature of the clause.

Mr. ISAACS.-The case I would like to put before Mr. Barton is this: Suppose a Bill, not a Money Bill, is passed by the House of Representatives, and amendments are proposed by the Senate and agreed to by the House of Representatives with amendments which are not agreed to by the Senate, are such circumstances met by this clause?

Mr. BARTON.-What part of the clause are you referring to?

Mr. ISAACS.-The last part, which reads-

The members present at the joint sitting may deliberate and shall vote together upon the proposed law as last proposed by the House of Representatives and upon the amendments, if any, which have been made therein by the Senate and not agreed to by the House of Representatives, and any such amendments, &c. That contemplates amendments by the Senate being rejected, but I am speaking of the other case, of amendments made by the Senate being accepted with amendments. This is an important matter, because it seems to narrow down the point of difficulty.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-According to the order of Parliament in New South Wales, though I do not know whether the same order is observed in the other colonies, the Legislative Assembly can amend amendments by the Legislative Council, but cannot go outside and travel into other parts of the Bill. We take the words quoted by Mr. Isaacs to mean that if the House of Representatives amend amendments made by the Senate, the House of Representatives do not agree to the amendments made by the Senate.

Mr. ISAACS.-The case I take is where the House of Representatives agree to amendments with amendments.

Mr. BARTON.-You can agree to a Council's amendments with amendments, but that is only the technical form. Under the circumstances it cannot be said that the House of Representatives, in the broad sense of the term, agree to the Council's amendment. The joint sitting could consider the whole of the amendments proposed by both Houses when amendments have not reached the state of being absolutely agreed to.

Mr. ISAACS.-In that case the House of Representatives would not have power to deliberate on the amendments requested by the Senate.

Mr. BARTON.-Possibly that might be so. Where the Senate made an amendment, and the House of Representatives amended that amendment, the difficulty to that extent would be narrowed down, But I do not think that is a matter which need occasion serious difficulty. I have no objection to an amendment which makes the matter clearer, but I do not think it would be any practical importance under the clause. The case might be met by inserting after the words "with the amendments, if any," the words "and not agreed to by the other House."

Mr. DEAKIN (Victoria).-If I might suggest, the difficulty would be met by simply altering the words "and not agreed to" to "so far as they have not been agreed to by the House of Representatives." That leaves before the joint sitting, first, the proposed Bill, and then the amendments of the Senate which have not been agreed to.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON.-I take it that what Mr. Deakin suggests is practically what Mr. Barton means.

[start page 2453] Mr. DEAKIN.-The suggestion of Mr. Barton is quite good so far as it goes. It provides for amendments, but not for amendments on amendments, which are a frequent occurrence.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-On the suggestion made by Mr. Isaacs, I feel no difficulty in agreeing to the omission of the word "the" before "amendment," and the words "therein by the Senate."

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).-I would like to ask the leader of the Convention whether if amendments are sent from the Senate to the House of Representatives, and amendments are made by the House of Representatives in a way the Senate will not agree to, will the original amendment, as it comes down, be put in the joint sitting as a substantive proposition, and the amendment on the amendment also put as a substantive proposition? If they are not put disjointly in that way it will be within the power of the House of Representatives, by amending an amendment sent by the Senate, to

prevent the original amendment of the Senate ever being put in the state it originally stood to the joint committee.

The amendment of the Drafting Committee's amendment omitting the words "a majority of" was agreed to.

Mr. KINGSTON (South Australia).-I would ask the leader of the Convention to consider whether it is sufficiently clear that what is provided for is: (1) The proposed law, (2) the amendments agreed to, and (3) the amendments decided upon by the joint sitting? It seems to me, looking at the clause hurriedly, that it only provides for (1) and (3)-the proposed law, with the amendments proposed at the conference; and not for the intermediate stage, the amendments which have been agreed to between the two Houses.

Sir JOHN FORREST.-Would they not be in the Bill?

Mr. BARTON.-They are included in the words "as last proposed by the House of Representatives."

Mr. KINGSTON.-They may be.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-Would it not be better to avoid any ambiguity by saying "as last agreed to by the House of Representatives"? That would cover it absolutely.

Mr. BARTON.-The House of Representatives may have disagreed with some of the amendments and adopted others, and thus the Bill is not the Bill "as last agreed to by the House of Representatives."

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clause 57, as amended, were agreed to.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 58 to 61 were agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales)-I wish to make a verbal amendment in clause 62. The words "from time to time," which I have been industriously facing in this Bill, have escaped me, and I wish to omit them from clause 62. I beg to move-

That the words "from time to time" be struck out.

The amendment was agreed to.

The Drafting Committee's amendments in clauses 63 to 73 were agreed to.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).-Upon clause 74 I should like to ask what is the position as regards appeals? Is it not that the High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear all appeals from state courts and courts of subordinate jurisdiction, but that the powers of courts with appellate jurisdiction, such as the High Court, may be cut down by the Parliament? There is a concurrent right of appeal from state courts directly to the Privy Council.

Mr. BARTON.-Yes, that is dealt with in the proviso to clause 73.

Mr. GLYNN.-But the appeal from the High Court may be abrogated by the Parliament?

Mr. BARTON.-There may be exceptions. That is what the committee deliberately passed.

Mr. GLYNN.-But the appeal from a state court direct to the Privy Council cannot be abrogated by the Parliament.

[start page 2454] Mr. BARTON.-I should say so. The proviso to clause 73 states that-

But no exception or regulation prescribed by the Parliament shall prevent the High Court from hearing and determining any appeal from the Supreme Court of a state in any matter in which at the establishment of the Commonwealth an appeal lies from such Supreme Court to the Queen in Council.

I think that makes the meaning quite clear.

Mr. GLYNN.-I do not think it does. What the leader has quoted was simply a proviso to prevent the abrogation of the appeal from a state court to the High Court.

Mr. BARTON.-It leaves the state Parliament with jurisdiction, but would prevent the Commonwealth Parliament from taking away the right.

Mr. GLYNN.-I want to point out that what appears to me to be the reading of the clause is that the Parliament has power to abolish appeals from the High Court to the Privy Council. Clause 74 provides that-

This Constitution shall not impair any right which the Queen may be pleased to exercise, by virtue of Her Royal prerogative, to grant special leave of appeal from the High Court to Her Majesty in Council. But the Parliament may make laws limiting the matters in which such leave may be asked.

That means that they may make laws limiting the cases in which appeals will be from the High Court to the Privy Council. Parliament has no power to make laws limiting the cases in which an appeal may be asked from a state court direct to the Privy Council. I do not know whether that is intended.

Mr. BARTON.-Yes; we have no power to interfere with that.

Mr. GLYNN.-That is the point. A great many honorable members understood that the right of appeal from a state court or from the High Court direct to the Privy Council could be abrogated by Parliament, whereas under the clause as it now stands, it would be beyond the competence of Parliament to abolish appeals from a state court direct to the Privy Council.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-The Drafting Committee could not interpret the intentions of the Convention, excepting in so far as they found them expressed in the Bill, in the amendments, or in the debates. We have endeavoured to give effect simply to what the Convention have said and done. This is the position-that the High Court has jurisdiction, but not exclusive jurisdiction, in cases in which the Judges exercise the original jurisdiction of the High Court, over appeals from any other federal court, or court exercising federal jurisdiction, from state courts, as laid down in sub-section (2), and from the Inter-State Commission. on matters of law. In these respects, excepting as qualified by the right of appeal to the Privy Council, the judgment of the High Court is to be final and conclusive. Parliament can take away from that power of the High Court, from time to time, by imposing exceptions and limitations. Then, in furtherance of an amendment moved by the Hon. Mr. Glynn, we exclude the Parliament from making any exceptions or regulations such as would prevent the Supreme Court of a state from appealing to the High Court where before the establishment of the Commonwealth it had the right of appealing to the Privy Council. Then we limit that by saying-and these are all interpretations of the Drafting Committee-that the conditions as to appeals to the Queen in Council shall apply to appeals from the several courts to the High Court. We further provide that in matters which involve the interpretation of this Constitution, or the Constitution of a state, and which do not involve the interests of some other part of Her Majesty's dominions, the decision of the High Court shall not be appealed against. We have incorporated with the Hon. Mr. Symon's amendment Sir

Joseph Abbott's amendment. We prevent the Queen's prerogative from being impaired [start page 2455] excepting in so far as these express provisions may interfere with them, and that was the intention. The prerogative which we preserve is the Queen's right to grant special leave to appeal to the Privy Council, and that is really the right of the Privy Council itself. We cannot give the Parliament direct power to interfere with the prerogative-at least we do not think it would be right to do so, but we give the Parliament power to limit the matters in which a subject may petition for leave to a peal. In that respect we carry out Mr. Symon's amendment. The right to grant special leave to appeal is only to continue until Parliament otherwise provides. There is one matter of practice that I would refer to, and that I think may modify to some extent the views that Mr. Glynn has expressed. The Privy Council have always refused to grant leave to appeal in any instance where a case might have gone through a local court, but had not done so. In New South Wales, on the equity side, an appeal lies direct from the Supreme Court, even where the Judge is a Judge of first instance, but it is the practice of the Privy Council not to grant special leave to appeal where a case might have gone through a local Supreme Court. There is, therefore, that protection. At any rate, Mr. Glynn, in his speech, referred to matters of policy, in which the Drafting Committee could not interfere.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-It appears to me that the point to which the Hon. Mr. Glynn has directed attention will not, in practice, arise at all. The intention certainly was, not to multiply appeals, or to give an alternative option to an appellant in a state court to appeal either direct to the Privy Council or to the High Court. We have dealt simply with appeals from the High Court to the Privy Council. Under clause 73, a general jurisdiction in regard to appeals is given to the High Court. The natural anxiety of the honorable member is that there should be a power in the Parliament to put an end to appeals direct from the Supreme Court of a state to the Privy Council without going, of course, through the High Court. It appears to me that under clause 73 the appeal direct to the Privy Council is practically abolished.

Mr. BARTON.-Under the new clause 73.

Mr. SYMON.-Yes, and for this reason, that the unvarying practice of the Privy Council is to refuse to grant leave of appeal from a court when there is already in existence a court in that state to which the appeal may be made.

Mr. BARTON.-The only exception I know of is the equity jurisdiction exercised by a single Judge in New South Wales.

Mr. SYMON.-Yes, that is the only exception. The point was raised in a case that went home from Victoria regarding the Garden Gully mine and something else.

Mr. HIGGINS.-It was a case as to gold on private property.

Mr. SYMON.-The invariable practice of the Privy Council would be followed, and they would refuse to grant leave to appeal until the appellate jurisdiction of the colony was exhausted. In practice, therefore, clause 73 would have exactly the effect that my honorable friend anticipates, and it is unnecessary to use any express words for the purpose of providing for the abolition of the appeal now existing from the court-of a state direct to the Privy Council, or to say that Parliament may abolish it. If it was intended to do that the proper course would be to insert after the word "conclusive," in clause 73, the words "and no appeal shall be direct to the Privy Council from any of the courts enumerated in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3)." The clause as it stands will probably give effect to what has been the intention of the committee throughout. I would suggest, however, to Mr. Barton that he should insert some words in clause 74 after the word "matters." If I may say so, I think this a more dexterous, and, to use an expression which we have already heard, more mannerly way of, [start page 2456] putting the power of the Federal Parliament into the clause than before. I would suggest that after the word "matters" the following words be inserted:-"if any," so as to make it clear that the amendment I moved gives this power to the Commonwealth Parliament if they choose to exercise it. They might so limit it

as to limit it away altogether. A reader of the clause, who has interest in seeing that the Federal Parliament has this power, might not so readily understand it as it is.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-The honorable member means that if Parliament goes on limiting such matters until the end, and there is only one left, it might leave out that one.

Mr. SYMON.-I do not say that a lawyer would say that.

Mr. BARTON.-I think that would only occur to a lawyer. I think that there is a reasonable construction which a court will have to put upon these words, and that there will be no difficulty.

Mr. KINGSTON.-This will have to be considered by lawyers.

Mr. BARTON.-Of course. I think we had better leave it as it is. I have no doubt as to the construction.

The amendments in clause 74 were agreed to.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-I wish to direct attention to sub-section (4) in clause 75.

Mr. BARTON.-That is merely a misprint.

Mr. HIGGINS (Victoria).-Is it clear that "affecting consuls " means only affecting consuls as consuls. I do not suppose there would be one law as to consuls in a civil proceeding and another law for other persons?

Mr. BARTON.-If my honorable friend reads on he will see that it is clear that this only refers to consuls in their representative capacity.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 75 to 80 were agreed to.

Clause 91 A.-Of the net revenue of the Commonwealth from duties of customs and of excise not more than four-twentieths shall be applied towards the maintenance and continuance of departments transferred to the Commonwealth, and not more than one-twentieth shall be applied towards the other expenditure of the Commonwealth.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON (Tasmania).-I beg to move-

That Clause 91A be amended by omitting from "four-twentieths" inclusive to end of paragraph, and inserting "one-fourth shall be applied annually by the Commonwealth towards its expenditure."

There is one trifling matter of substance in the amendment I proposed, and one which I am sure will commend itself to all honorable members. In clause 91A, as it was passed, it was provided that five-twentieths of the net revenue from Customs and Excise should be applied to the expenses of the Commonwealth; but I think, unfortunately, the five-twentieths were divided into two amounts of one-twentieth and four-twentieths, and inasmuch as we have passed this clause in perpetuity, or until the Constitution comes to be amended, I think there is in this an absence of elasticity that we ought to apply to the clause. It might happen as the clause now stands that if it were passed into law the purposes for which one-twentieth of the revenue is to be set aside would not be provided for by the one-twentieth, while the four-twentieths provided for the other expenses of the Commonwealth would be greatly in excess of the requirements of the Commonwealth. It would be preferable that, for the Commonwealth expenditure, there should be set aside a sum not exceeding one-fourth of the Customs net revenue, leaving the balance, whatever it might be-a balance certainly of three-fourths, and possibly at first of more than three-fourths-to be distributed amongst the States.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I was sincerely gratified when I heard that Sir Edward Braddon said he was prepared to move this amendment. It is the [start page 2457] inelasticity of the clause as it stood which has provoked the most hostile criticism. There are, of course, a very large number of critics who agree that it would be wise to afford some sort of guarantee to the states. While I have been against the principle of a guarantee, I now accept that principle as carried by the Convention; but those who agree with the guarantee are not disposed to agree with the clause, for the reason that Sir Edward Braddon has clearly pointed out: That while you restrict one-twentieth to the original powers and four-twentieths to the maintenance and extension of departments, the four-twentieths may leave a large surplus, while, at the same time, the one-twentieth would be exceeded, and there would be no means to apply the surplus on the one hand to the deficiency on the other. That will create a serious embarrassment in the Commonwealth finances. It is simply to avoid that embarrassment, while preserving what is due to the states, that this amendment has been proposed. So far as the states are concerned, under the amendment they, will receive precisely what they would have received had the clause stood in its original form.

Mr. HOLDER (South Australia).-I do not object to the alteration. With a Tariff producing £6,000,000 it practically means that instead of the Commonwealth being able to spend £300,000 as a maximum upon new expenditure, and £1,200,000 upon works and services taken over, they will be able to spend on the whole £1,500,000. So that there will be the same amount returnable to the states in any case. There is, however, another matter in the next paragraph which is of importance, and to which I should like to refer. The clause as it stands provides that the balance unexpended by the Commonwealth shall be paid over to the states. That may fairly be taken to mean the balance after the one-fourth has been appropriated by the Commonwealth-that three-fourths shall be paid over to the states.

Mr. HIGGINS.-No more.

Mr. HOLDER.-Yes. What I want to provide is that the whole of the unexpended balance shall be paid over to the states. For that reason I should like the Drafting Committee to adhere to the original wording of the clause.

Mr. BARTON.-What we intend the amendment to mean is that the whole of the unexpended balance of the Commonwealth shall be paid over to the states.

Mr. HOLDER.-I understand it to mean the balance of the revenue collected, less one-fourth.

Mr. BARTON.-If my honorable friend will refer back be will see that not more than one-fourth shall be appropriated by the Commonwealth. If less than one-fourth is appropriated, the unexpended balance, which may be more than three-fourths, will go back to the states.

The amendment of Sir Edward Braddon was agreed to.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 92 to 96 were agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-In pursuance of a promise which I made to the committee when the Inter-State Commission was being discussed, I have a new clause to propose. It was then pointed out by the right honorable member (Mr. Kingston) that, inasmuch as such important powers had been given to the Inter-State Commission, we might well go back to some of the clauses providing for their tenure of office, which had been suggested by the Constitutional Committee in Adelaide, and rejected, because at the time the Inter-State Commission had not been given as much power as has since been given to it. It seemed to be thought that there should be some formal definition of the appointment, the tenure of office, the terms of removal, and the remuneration of the commission. I have, therefore, drafted a clause which is not so wide as that brought forward in Adelaide, which limits the term of appointment to, two years, makes the members of the commission removable within that time by the Governor-General in Council, upon an [start page 2458] address

from both Houses of the Parliament in the same session praying for their removal, upon the ground of misbehaviour or incapacity, and providing that they shall receive such remuneration as the Parliament may fix, which remuneration is not to be altered during their continuance in office.

Sir JOHN FORREST.-Can they be reappointed?

Mr. BARTON.-Yes. There is no necessity to give power for re-appointment.

Sir JOHN FORREST.-What does that word "proved" mean?

Mr. BARTON.-Parliament shall deem the charge proved before it presents an address. The right honorable member will remember that when we were discussing the tenure of office of the Judges, we amended the clause then before the committee to make it read similarly to this clause, in order to carry out the view of the honorable and learned member (Mr. Isaacs), that it ought not to be competent for a Judge to appeal to the Bench against his being dealt with by the Parliament; but that, on the other hand, there should be some security that the Parliament should take means to have the charge proved before it presented an address. I therefore beg to move-

That the following stand a clause of the Bill:-

The members of the Inter-State Commission-

I. Shall be appointed by the Governor-General in Council:

II. Shall hold office for seven years, but may be removed within that time by the Governor-General in Council, on an address from both Houses of the Parliament in the same session praying for such removal, on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity:

III. Shall receive such remuneration as the Parliament may fix; but such remuneration shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Mr. GRANT (Tasmania).-It appears to me that it would be better to leave the clause as it stands. The Inter-State Commission which we are creating is an entirely new body. I think it advisable to give the Parliament absolute discretion in regard to it. Besides, the amendment will fix in the Constitution for all time what it may not be either necessary or desirable to enact in this way. The words of the clause as they stand would be more judicious than the inelastic provisions of this extra clause as proposed by the leader of the Convention.

Mr. BARTON.-I am proposing this amendment in performance of a promise.

Mr. KINGSTON (South Australia).-I am pleased that the leader of the Convention has again brought forward this proposal. I do not see how it is possible to avoid making some permanent provision on the subject, which we have already embedded in the Constitution, that the Inter-State. Commission shall have control of these matters.

Mr. BARTON.-And that they shall have judicial powers.

Mr. KINGSTON.-Yes, judicial powers in connexion with these matters. If the necessity for the creation of that commission is not embodied in the Constitution itself, this clause, to which we attach very great importance, and which we. have debated at considerable length, will have no practical effect whatever. Another matter is, we are conferring on the Inter-State Commission judicial powers of the highest order. For instance, the declaration that certain railway rates which may be challenged in Parliament, but which are necessary for the development of the states, and which should not be interfered with, are to be left in their discretion. It is absolutely necessary that we should leave this commission free from all political control and interference, otherwise, in the execution of its

important duties, it will be subject to influences which interfere most materially with the satisfactory discharge of its responsibility. All that is proposed here is to give the commission for a limited time, practical independence, and, unless you do that, I would infinitely [start page 2459] sooner see all reference to the Inter-State Commission expunged from the Bill. You cannot expect a body such as the Inter-State Commission to, exercise the powers which are proposed to be conferred upon it in a satisfactory way unless you place the members of that commission beyond the influences both of the Executive and of Parliament; and you cannot do that without the adoption of provisions somewhat of the character now under consideration, which, within the limits of their jurisdiction, will give them all the independence of competent Judges.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON (Tasmania).-I think it would be a mistake to insert a provision of this sort in the Constitution which must necessarily involve a very considerable expenditure on this Inter-State Commission.

Mr. ISAACS.-More than we can see at present.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON.-Yes, but we know that it must be a very considerable expenditure. I say this, not because I am averse to the Inter State Commission altogether; not because, on that point, those of us who objected to the Inter-State Commission have been beaten; but for the reason that I think this is a thing that might very well be left to the Federal Parliament to decide from time to time as circumstances require, instead of fettering the Parliament with the conditions which might, as I said before, involve a very much larger expenditure than we anticipate, a very much larger expenditure than we could approve, and certainly a much larger expenditure than the people of the states would approve.

Mr. HOLDER (South Australia).-I do not understand that we propose to appoint an Inter-State Commission, the members of which shall give the whole of their time to this work, and for whom, therefore, very large salaries will be required. I contemplate a body composed something like this-of perhaps the three Railways Commissioners-

Mr. PEACOCK.-Oh, no.

Mr. BARTON.-They would be judges in their own cause.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON.-That is suggested by Mr. Reid.

Mr. HOLDER.-I am suggesting what has occurred to my own mind. I am suggesting that the commission would be appointed of probably the three Railways Commissioners, and two men of commercial experience, well acquainted with the circumstances of business throughout one or more of the colonies, and that the members of such a body should be paid large fees, considering the time they would devote to their duties under the provisions of the Act which declared their authorities and powers-a body who would be summoned from time to time to deal with the questions coming before them; and it seems to me that such a body would meet all the needs of the case, and would not involve an enormous expense, and yet would supply all the expert experience and the particular class of knowledge required under the circumstances. They would be almost assessors, with the knowledge and experience necessary to perform the technical work required of them under the Constitution. As to the objection that we should not create this body in the Constitution, that has been done already in two or three clauses, and all that is necessary is to trust this body with actual independence, without which they could not do their work properly. Therefore, I am very pleased that the proposed amendment has been brought forward, because it, or something like it, was necessary to give the authority required to those responsible officers.

Mr. SYMON (South Australia).-If I had thought the Inter-State Commission was to be such a body as that which Mr. Holder has outlined, I should have been found very gravely objecting to the appointment of the commission, because I think it would be very undesirable. It would be a very

serious thing to contemplate [start page 2460] taking a number of men from their own business to carry on the work of the Inter-State Commission, because it might necessitate their being brought into conflict with the railway authorities. It will be the duty of the members of the commission to settle differences, as to railway carriage and railway rates; and if you appoint on this commission men who are in private business this difficulty would be created, that they would be in a very difficult position, a position where they would be liable to imputations on their honesty and fairness, if it should so happen that some of their own affairs might be directly or indirectly affected by the conclusions at which the Inter-State Commission arrive. I believe in that commission, but on the footing that it shall be a body to which these provisions sought to be introduced shall be applicable-a body whose members shall exclusively devote their attention to these particular matters, and to be, precisely within their own sphere, in the same position as Judges of the High Court. Unless that is done we shall do a most grievous thing in creating this Inter-State Commission; and whilst I am sure every one will commend Mr. Holder, as I do. for his desire to be economical, I venture to say that the constitution of the Inter-State Commission, as he would wish it, would be securing economy at the sacrifice of the importance and dignity of the commission. I hope this amendment will be introduced, but only on the footing that the Inter-State Commission is to be a body which is to exercise its functions unaffected by private influence or political intrigue. I think it should be free from the possibility of imputation on the ground that the members of the commission are carrying on their own business at the same time as they are members of a tribunal which has to settle differences between business men and the Railway department.

Mr. MCMILLAN (New South Wales).-There is a great deal of difficulty in this matter, and it is very hard to decide. No doubt the expenditure is a valid reason in the matter; at the same time, the whole of this question of railways has been so altered during the debates in Adelaide, and the whole position of the colony of New South Wales is so serious, that I think we must have, as members of the Inter-State Commission, trained persons who will be absolutely independent both of political forces, and of any possible corruption.

Mr. ISAACS.-Why is the position in New South Wales serious?

Mr. MCMILLAN.-The position in New South Wales is a very serious one in regard to the question of differential and preferential railway rates. Now this commission will have to decide with regard to the most momentous matters in our railway system, and there will be, probably, under any circumstances, a great deal of friction. I believe that the friction will be so great that it will bring about some different system of dealing with the railways-

Mr. DEAKIN.-Hear, hear; federalization.

Mr. MCMILLAN.-Because I am perfectly certain that no system short of vesting the railways will prevent friction and trouble. Although the commission may be expensive, it ought to be in the first place a body of experts, and you cannot get the services of highly-trained experts unless you pay them well, no matter whether their work is long or short. Therefore, if you are to get competent men, you must pay them well; and the members of this commission must be high class men, men of commercial knowledge and ability, and men who are not open to corruption; because, although there may be very little to do for some time to come, and although the employment of such a body looks like a waste of money, I fear that, after our previous action in dealing with this question, it is absolutely necessary to adopt the proposal of the leader of the Convention.

[start page 2461] Mr. ISAACS (Victoria).-If we are to have the Inter-State Commission which has been necessitated by the provisions we have passed, we must have one that is absolutely independent. To have a tribunal such as my honorable friend (Mr. Holder) suggests would indeed be to have a tainted tribunal. To have Railways Commissioners from the various colonies sitting to adjudicate as to whether the rates they themselves had made were unfair or unjust would scarcely be what is contemplated by the provisions which the majority have imposed upon the minority.

Mr. HOLDER.-They would be made by one and sat upon by three.

Mr. ISAACS.-I must say that I think there are insuperable objections to the course proposed. There is another provision in the Bill, which I remember Mr. Holder supported strongly, and that was to give to the High Court the right of appeal on matters arising from the Inter-State Commission. Now, it is to be a body to-decide upon decisions by the Railways Commissioners. Some of the provisions of the Bill, indeed, seem to require that the members of the Inter-State Commission should be lawyers; another part of the Bill requires them to be commercial men; and another part requires that they should be railway experts. If we are to have these Admirable Crichtons, I do not know where they are to come from. I understand that in South Australia men with these qualifications are to be found, but not elsewhere, I think. I see that under clause 100 they are to have the execution and maintenance of the provisions relating to trade and commerce. I am beginning to ask myself-What is to become of the Supreme Court? The commission are to have the machinery relating to this control placed in their hands. If they are also to have the execution and maintenance of these powers, it seems to me that they must have an army of officers, and will have their ramifications all throughout the Commonwealth. Their powers do not relate only to railways or rivers, but also to the provisions relating to trade and commerce within the Commonwealth. What all this is going to eventuate in I cannot say for a moment. It looks to me like an enormous branch being set up which may seriously affect other portions of the Constitution. But whatever it may be, it seems to me that the commissioners should be persons not susceptible of political influence. This should be, if for no other reason, certainly for this: That the power of the Parliament is in one matter entirely subordinated to them. The power of the Parliament to declare any preference or discrimination invalid is limited to such preferences or discriminations as the Inter-State Commission in its discretion thinks undue or unreasonable, or unjust to any state. So that the Parliament is shorn of its ordinary powers. The Parliament is prevented from exercising any discretion whatever on any of these preferences and discriminations on which the Inter-State Commission has judgment-which judgment may or may not come to the High Court; and when the Inter-State Commission has pronounced judgment, and the Supreme Court has adjudicated upon it, then, and then only, if the decision be unjust to a state, or undue or unreasonable, does the power of the Parliament come in at all. Thus we can see at once what an enormous pressure may be brought to bear on the Inter-State Commission by a Parliament or Ministers acting with the confidence of Parliament, and it is, therefore, necessary that we should have these provisions with regard to the status of the commissioners. I do not agree with the provisions of the Bill as they stand, but to make it consistent and effective we must have some strong provision. Therefore, it seems to me that the provisions now suggested are absolutely necessary to make the Bill consistent.

Mr. HOWE (South Australia).-I quite agree as to what has been said by Mr. Isaacs, and I wish to strengthen the hands [start page 2462] of the Inter-State Commission. Therefore I beg to move-

That after the word "for," in the first line of sub-section (2), the words "not less than" be inserted.

Mr. BARTON.-That would give power to appoint them for ten or twelve years.

Mr. HOWE.-In my opinion, if they do their duty, they should remain in office for life, so long as they remain in a position to serve their country.

Mr. BARTON.-Under the Interpretation Act the power to appoint for seven years involves the power to re-appoint.

Mr. HOWE.-The leader of the Convention will see that this seven years terminates their appointment.

Mr. BARTON.-They can be re-appointed.

Mr. HOWE.-If we make it "not less than seven years" they may serve their country for the natural course of their lives.

Mr ISAACS.-The words you suggest would not do that.

Mr. BARTON.-They imply a term of years.

Mr. HOWE.-Of course they do. I have consulted several honorable members, and they quite agree with the amendment I have suggested. It implies a longer term. They may be re-appointed at the end of seven years so far as the clause is concerned, whereas there may be no re-appointment or readjustment of position or salaries or anything else, and they may go on as long as they serve the country faithfully and well.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-They may be removed at any time while they are in office. I suggest to Mr. Howe that it will be scarcely necessary to move this amendment. The power to appoint involves the power to re-appoint. I am strongly with Mr. Howe in giving a fairly secure tenure of office to these gentlemen, who, I hope, will be gentlemen of proved ability and knowledge. It is right to frame a clause of this kind in order that persons of that ability and knowledge may have some security in accepting the office. But a reasonable security is enough. If I may allude to my own colony, I will take, for instance, the case of the Railways Commissioners who were appointed under an Act which removes them largely from political control. I do not think there is any difficulty about the renewal of office of any of these gentlemen providing they are found competent. The term there is seven years. It has been found that that term is sufficient to secure the services of able men, while it is a term in which, if there was any cause for dissatisfaction not coining within the realm of proved incapacity or misbehaviour, there still would be power to the Governor in Council or the Executive responsible to Parliament to reconsider its decision. It is advisable in cases of this kind, where gentlemen, either by increasing age, illness, or any other circumstances are not so available for the services of the State as they were when originally appointed, there should be some opportunity for the Executive to appoint some other person if it be found the interests of the State would be better served thereby. That is a fair principle, and the appointment for seven years is a reasonably long one. The Premier of New South Wales (Mr. Reid) and myself are not perfectly agreed on this point. He wished the limit of tenure to be five years, and I ventured to propose it should be the same as that applying in another colony. Remembering the importance of the office, and the necessity of securing men who could be trusted to discharge their very delicate and onerous duties, I still think a fair limit will be found in the terms suggested by the clause.

Mr. HOWE.-Under the circumstances I will not press my amendment.

Mr. Howe's amendment was withdrawn.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clause 101 were agreed to.

The new clause proposed by Mr. Barton was agreed to.

Clause 97 was omitted.

[start page 2463] Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).-I move-

That clause 98 be omitted, and the following inserted in lieu thereof:-

The Parliament may take over from the states their public debts as existing at the establishment of the Commonwealth, or a proportion thereof according to the respective numbers of their people as shown by the latest statistics of the Commonwealth, and may convert, renew, or consolidate such debts, or any part thereof; and the states shall indemnify the Commonwealth in respect of the debts

taken over, and thereafter the interest payable in respect of the debts shall be deducted and retained from the portions of the surplus revenue of the Commonwealth payable to the several states, or if such surplus is insufficient, or if there is no surplus, then the deficiency or the whole amount shall be paid by the several states.

The difference between clause 98 and this clause is that the language has been shortened without in any way losing the meaning. The words in respect of the rateable proportion which formerly found a place at the end of the clause have been got into a smaller compass in the early part of the clause.

The new clause was agreed to.

The amendments of the Drafting Committee in clauses 103 to 120 inclusive were agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales).I move-

That in the heading of clause 121 the word "amendment" be omitted, and the word "alteration" inserted in lieu thereof.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).-The substitution of the word "alteration" for "amendment" seems to be a consequential amendment.

Mr. BARTON.-The amendment is made simply because the word "alteration" is used right throughout instead of "amendment." I think the public understand the word "alteration" perhaps better than "amendment."

Mr. GLYNN.-There was a feeling amongst some members that it was a pity the word "amendment" has not been stuck to.

Mr. BARTON.-I don't care which word is used, so long as the same word is stuck to throughout.

The amendment was agreed to.

Mr. BARTON (New South Wales)-I desire, with the consent of the committee, to revert to clause 121. By some inadvertence, an amendment suggested in that clause has not been given effect to. It is a mere matter of wording, and perhaps you, Mr. Chairman, could take authority to make the amendment. The words "the provisions of" are totally unnecessary, and have been omitted all through, and it is these words that we desire to have struck out. The clause will then read-"This Constitution shall not be altered except in the following manner."

The CHAIRMAN.-If no honorable member objects, I will make that alteration.

The amendments suggested by the Drafting Committee in the preamble were agreed to.

The Bill was then reported to the House with further amendments.

Mr. BARTON moved-

That the standing orders be suspended to, enable a motion for the adoption of the report, and a motion consequent thereon, to be put.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. BARTON.-I beg now to move-

That the report of the committee be adopted.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr. BARTON.-I should like now to make a short explanation to the Convention. The Federal Enabling Act says that on the reassembling of the Convention and it re-assembled in Melbourne after the session in Sydney-the Constitution framed prior to the adjournment shall be reconsidered, together with any suggested amendments forwarded by the Legislatures of the several colonies, and that the [start page 2464] Constitution so framed shall be finally adopted with any amendments agreed to. Then there is another important section which sets out that as soon as the Convention has finally adopted a Constitution, as required by the preceding section, and has disposed of all incidental business-which term has a wide application-copies certified to by the President shall be supplied in duplicate to the members of the Convention, and the President shall declare the proceedings of the Convention closed. What I propose to do is this: It will be necessary to print the Bill as now amended and as finally adopted, and we shall, therefore, have to hold another sitting to-morrow. That is unfortunate, perhaps, as it will detain some honorable members, but there will have to be another sitting, because the Bill will have to be distributed. Copies certified to by the President will have to be supplied in duplicate to the members of the Convention. This provision is in one or more of the Enabling Acts. Copies are also to be supplied to others, as, for instance, to the Governors of the colonies. This will necessitate first the printing of the Bill, next the distribution of it to the members present, and then the posting of it to the members absent, and to the other persons who are entitled to receive it. Until this is done the President cannot declare the Convention closed, and that is why we must sit tomorrow, and why we must have a quorum. I hope honorable members will understand that the provisions of the Enabling Act cannot be complied with unless we have a quorum to-morrow. I do not wish to detain the Convention now, but I think it will be right for me to move that the Bill be finally adopted. I shall also take the opportunity to-morrow of submitting a motion that I am sure you, Mr. President, will not rule out of order, to the effect that the Governments of the various colonies be invited to supply copies of the Bill to the whole of their electors. On some motion of that sort I shall have a few words to say in recommendation of the Bill, and I shall invite other honorable members to follow my example so that there may be a separate copy of the report of the proceedings of to-morrow, not occupying too great a space, which may be read and studied, as I hope it will be, by many of the electors of the colony. As we must hold a sitting to-morrow, it will be just as convenient to take that course then and will be more convenient as regards the publication of Hansard-as to take it now. I beg now to move-

That this Convention, having reconsidered the Constitution as framed prior to the adjournment from Adelaide to Sydney, together with the suggested amendments forwarded by the several Legislatures, now finally adopts the said Constitution, with the amendments agreed to as shown by the report which has been this day finally adopted.

I am sure that the motion commends itself to honorable members. I will take the opportunity, to-morrow, of saying something in recommendation of the Bill. I am going to ask now that we adjourn until ten o'clock tomorrow, as I think that will best suit the convenience of honorable members.

Mr. HIGGINS.-According to your reading of the Commonwealth Bill ought not the President to sit and declare the Bill adopted after each member has received his Bills?

Mr. BARTON.-After the Convention has finally adopted the Bill, and has disposed of all incidental business, copies certified by the President shall be supplied in duplicate. I take it to be the clear reading of a statute, that where a thing is provided to be done by statute, the fact of its being done early is no bar to its efficacy.

Mr. HIGGINS.-If the copies are sent by post, each member may not receive them.

Mr. BARTON.-I think the clear meaning of the statute is that posting the Bills will be supplying them; otherwise, the [start page 2465] Convention might have to be kept in session a week or a

fortnight until there was a certainty that everybody, including the Governors, had received copies. I am sure that is not the intention of the Act.

Sir JOHN FORREST.-There is to be a declaration at a meeting of the Convention.

Mr. BARTON.-Yes. The President has no administrative or executive power under the Act, and therefore he cannot comply with the law by making a publication in the Gazette. Therefore, we must have a meeting of the Convention tomorrow, and a declaration then.

The PRESIDENT.-I undoubtedly hold that the posting of the notices will be sufficient, all other incidental matters having been disposed of; and I will then declare the meeting closed.

Mr. ISAACS (Victoria).-I quite agree with the view Mr. Barton has presented. It seems to me, following that view, that now we have gone through the Bill and dealt with the amendments, the Enabling Act provides what is really a statutory adoption of the Constitution. It does not seem to me more than a formal motion, because it distinctly provides that when the Constitution, as framed prior to the adjournment, has been reconsidered, together with any suggested amendments by the Legislatures, then the Constitution, so framed, shall be finally adopted with any amendments agreed to. In fact, the whole trend of the Federal Enabling Act is that we must frame a Constitution. It is not a matter of option with us whether we shall adopt the Constitution or not, but having gone through the Bill as now presented, and the various clauses having been agreed to by majorities, it seems to me, following the view brought forward by the leader, that it is now our statutory duty to finally adopt this Constitution.

The motion was agreed to.

The Convention adjourned at two minutes to five o'clock p.m.