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§ 218. “Purpose in Respect of Which.”

The second limit to the power of the Commonwealth to acquire private or provincial property is, that it must only take it for purposes in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws. Thus lands and buildings could only be taken for postal, telegraphic, telephonic, naval and military purposes; for arsenals and fortifications; light-houses; quarantine stations; customs houses; federal offices and federal law courts; and other purposes similarly authorized by the Constitution.

51 (xxxii.) The control of railways with respect to transport for the naval and military purposes219 of the Commonwealth:

HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Bill of 1891 sub-clause 29 extended to “the control of railways with respect to transport for the purposes of the Commonwealth.” Mr. Gordon and Mr. Clark proposed to add provisions with regard to preferences and discriminations (see Historical Note to sec. 102). Mr. Baker moved to add “The altering of the gauge of any line of railway, and the establishing a uniform gauge in any State or States;” but this was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1891, pp. 692–8.)

At the Adelaide session in 1897 the sub-clause was confined to “the military purposes of the Commonwealth.” At the Melbourne session a suggestion by the Legislative Council of New South Wales, to insert “but only” after “transport,” was negatived as unnecessary, and on Mr. Barton's motion the words “naval and” were inserted before “military.” (Conv. Deb., Melb., p. 154.)

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