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§ 221. “Railway Construction.”

As the preceding sub-section provides an opening for the gradual transfer of established railways from the States to the Commonwealth, so this sub-section affords scope for the initiation of a federal policy of railway construction and extension. It will, no doubt, be first used to authorize the construction of trans-continental lines, such as those already projected to connect the railway system of South Australia, at Port Augusta, with that of Western Australia, and to extend the South Australian railway at Oodnadatta northward, to join the Northern territory railways, running southward from Port Darwin. So it could be used to authorize the connection of such a trans-continental line, when constructed, with the railways of Queensland and New South Wales. The only condition precedent to the exercise of the power is the consent of the State, or States, through which the proposed Federal railways are to run.

51. (xxxv.) Conciliation and arbitration222 for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State:

HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Sydney Convention of 1891, Mr. Kingston proposed a new sub-clause: “The establishment of courts of conciliation and arbitration, having jurisdiction throughout the Commonwealth, for the settlement of industrial disputes.” Sir Samuel Griffith expressed the opinion that the amendment ought to be moved in the chapter dealing with the Federal Judiciary, and Mr. Kingston accordingly withdrew it. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1891, pp. 688–9.) Subsequently he proposed to insert, in sec. 1 of Chap. III., the words “including courts of conciliation and arbitration for the settlement of industrial disputes.” This was criticized as an interference with the functions of the States, and was negatived by 25 votes to 12. (Id. pp. 780–5.)

At the Adelaide session in 1897 Mr. Higgins proposed the sub-clause as it now stands; but after debate it was negatived by 22 votes to 12. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 782–93.)

At the Melbourne session Mr. Higgins moved the sub-clause again, and after considerable debate it was agreed to by 22 votes to 19. (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 180–215.)




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