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§ 125. “The Governor-General in Council may Cause Writs to be Issued.”

The question whether this section ought to have been framed so as to read that the writs should be issued by “the Governor-General” or by “the Governor-General in Council” was the subject of debate in the Convention. In the Adelaide Draft of the Constitution, the clause (then 41) provided that “the Governor-General” might cause writs to be issued. At the Melbourne Session Dr. Cockburn took objection to this form, and proposed to insert the words “in Council.” He submitted that without the addition of these words it would appear that the issue of the writs was a prerogative act, which the Governor-General could direct to be done without the advice of the Executive Council. In reply to this it was suggested that at the time of the holding of the first Federal elections there might not be an Executive Council in existence, and the issue of the writs would, in that event, necessarily be a personal act of the Governor-General. This view, however, was not generally concurred in, as one of the first executive acts of the Queen's Representative after the establishment of the Commonwealth would be to send for some leading statesman to form a Federal Ministry, which would of course constitute the first Executive Council. It was pointed out that, even if the proposed words were not inserted, the Governor-General would not act in such a matter without the advice of his ministers. Eventually the words were added. (See Note, § 60, supra.)




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