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§ 65. “Day Appointed for the Return of the Writs.”

The provision of this Section, that after any general election the Parliament shall be summoned to meet not later than thirty days “after the day appointed for the return of writs” would seem to refer to the day appointed by the Governor-General in Council under section 32, under which writs are issued for general elections of members of the House of Representatives; such writs would of course appoint the day upon which they are required to be returned. The passage in this section, now under consideration, was taken from a paragraph in ch. I., pt. III., sec. 41 of the Draft Bill of 1891, which under the heading of “Duration of the House of Representatives,” provided that “The Parliament shall be called together not later than thirty days after the day appointed for the return of the writs for the general election.” From this it appears “that the day appointed” means the time specified for the return of the writs issued by the Federal Government for the election of the House of Representatives; and that it has no reference to the times which may be appointed by the Governors of States for the return of writs issued by them for the election of Senators for their respective States. It does not seem to suggest that the Governor-General in Council could limit the time within which the election of Senators would have to be held, and their names certified by the Governors of States. The Governor-General in Council could issue no mandate to the Governors of States on this subject. On the contrary, the State authorities can fix their own times for the election of senators, without reference to the Federal Government (sec. 9). Should any of the States omit to provide for their representation in the Senate, that body could proceed to the despatch of business in the absence of senators from such State (sec. 11), provided that there was a quorum present, consisting of at least one-third of the whole number of the senators (sec. 22).

Yearly Session of Parliament.

6. There shall be a session of the Parliament once at least in every year66, so that twelve months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the Parliament in one session and its first sitting in the next session.

CANADA.—There shall be a session of the Parliament of Canada once at least in every year, so that twelve months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the Parliament in one session and its first sitting in the next session.—B.N.A. Act, 1867, s. 20.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—This provision, which occurs in the Constitutions of all the Australian colonies, was contained, verbatim, in the Commonwealth Bill of 1891, and was adopted by the Convention of 1897-8, without debate or amendment.

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