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§ 365. “The Current Obligations of the State in Respect of the Department.”

The transfer of the property used in connection with the departments having been provided for, it was necessary also to provide for the transfer of claims against the departments. This provision is intended to meet the case of current contracts with the department, by requiring that the obligations under them should be taken over by the Commonwealth. The word “current” was inserted by the Drafting Committee to meet a criticism that the words might be construed to extend to loan moneys spent in connection with the department. (See Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 920–2; Melb., p. 1902.) It is quite clear that the words refer only to the “current” obligations incurred in the course of departmental business, and have no reference whatever to capital invested by the State in departmental works, or the obligations which the State may have incurred in raising such capital—obligations which cannot be said to be incurred “in connection with” the department on which the money is afterwards spent.

It was also suggested (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 1905–6) that contracts of service entered into by the department with its officers might be held to be included; but seeing that these are expressly dealt with in the preceding section, this construction would be superfluous as well as forced.




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86. On the establishment of the Commonwealth, the collection and control of duties of customs and of excise366, and the control of the payment of bounties367, shall pass to the Executive Government of the Commonwealth.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Commonwealth Bill of 1891, this provision, in substantially the same words (except that “the payment of bounties,” not “the control of the payment of bounties,” passed to the Commonwealth) stood as a paragraph of Clause 4, Chap. IV. (Exclusive power over customs, &c.) There were also provisions (clauses 7, 9) that until the uniform tariff, bounties payable in the several States should be paid by the officers of the Commonwealth, and charged against the States.

At the Adelaide session, 1897, the provision, following the draft of 1891, still stood part of the “exclusive power” clause. The debate, which turned entirely on bounties, is summarized in Historical Note to sec. 90, Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 835, 838–66.

At the Melbourne session the paragraph was struck out, and re-inserted as a new clause. An amendment by Sir George Turner, excepting State bounties consented to by the Federal Parliament, is noted under sec. 91, Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 964–5, 990, 2343–65.

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