HC Deb 31 July 1907 vol 179 cc1129-32

Considered in Committee.

Clause 1: —


opposed the clause, for the purpose of asking what sort: of Bills would be reserved. Would a Bill, for example, passed by one of the States for excluding Japanese from entering be one to be reserved?


said the necessity for this measure arose from the fact that under various Acts dating from the early part of the late reign certain classes of legislation had been reserved, and had to be referred home. One of the principal "classes was in cases affecting constitutional changes, which should be a matter always reserved for the sanction of His Majesty's Government. The Committee would see that, as time went on, changes of a kind which were not really fundamental to the constitution of the Colonies were made in the ordinary expansion of their electoral position There was a Bill affecting the alteration of the franchise, and the system of election, and these purely local measures had come to be withheld as if they were affecting the constitution of the State. This caused a great deal of inconvenience and difficulty. This Bill dealt with the whole principle of reserving Bills from the Australian Colonies and it agreed exactly with the views that the Colonies now held. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would not think he was disrespectful if he said it was absolutely necessary for the Bill that he should obtain it in the form in which it now stood, because it was in that form that it had been agreed to after an immense amount of time and trouble by the whole of the self-governing States of Australia. There would still be certain fundamental Bills which would necessarily be referred home, such as Bills altering the constitution of the legislature in either House, or affecting the salary of the Governor, or a Bill which was, under any act of legislature of the State, prescribed to be reserved. These might appear to be very considerable reservations for them to make upon the legislation of the self-governing Colonies. He did not say anything in defence of it except that the Bill had been agreed to after very long consideration by the Colonies concerned.

MR. FORSTER (Kent, Sevenoaks)

said the right hon. Gentleman had made an exceedingly interesting reply, but he had not answered the question whether or not under the Bill the question of legislation affecting the landing of Japanese or other coloured labour would be reserved. He rather gathered that that would not come within the limit of the Bills necessarily reserved, but would probably come under those Bills which would, under the direction of the Government at home to the Colonial Governor, be reserved.


replied that under instructions the Colonial Governor might refer such Bills home, but as to any particular Bill he could not say without inquiry, because instructions varied.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 2: —


asked for information as to a reference in the clause regarding certain Colonial Bills which were required to be laid before both Houses of Parliament in England.


said the clause was intended to be a wide net to validate illegalities in Bills passed by the Australian Colonies. This particular clause referred, he believed, to Tasmania, Western Australia, and Queensland, the reserved Bills from which had to lie on the Table of both Houses for thirty days before they obtained the force of law. The clause was put in in order that any Bills which had not conformed to this rule should not be invalidated.

Clause agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment.

Read a third time, and passed.