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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 50

Federal Council Interpretation Bill-Consideration as Amended

Federal Council Interpretation Bill-Consideration as Amended.

On the motion of Mr. Berry, the amendments made in this bill were read a first and second time.

Mr. Dodds said: I have just been talking to my hon. friend Mr. Griffith, with reference to the definition of property contained in the bill, which is taken from the Conveyancing and Property Act. In that Act "property" is defined as "real and personal property, and any debt, and anything in action, and any other right or interest." This is a very good definition as far as the law of England is concerned, although not so good for the colony of Tasmania, where the Judicature Act is not in force. Choses in action are in just the same position with regard to their assignment here as they were before the Judicature Act was passed. That Act removed all difficulty as far as England was concerned, but the old law still remains in Tasmania. The point I was conferring with my hon. friend upon was this, whether as regards Tasmania, we do not alter the law by implication, because if we include in the definition of property choses in action, we make them assignable in the ordinary way from one person to another. By the old law choses in action are not so assignable. They are, as I said, so assignable under the Judicature Act: but in regard to the colony of Tasmania there appeared to me to be just this question about it, that we should by implication be altering the state of the law. However, my friend seems to think that, we could in legislating on any question in which we use the word property in this sense, so limit the language, or rather use language so limited, as to prevent any difficulty arising. The same question is involved in the Conveyancing and Real Property Act, in existence in this colony; and, inasmuch as difficulties may arise in future on the point, I thought it right to mention it, not only in the interests of the colony I represent, but also in that of those colonies where the Judicature Act is not in force.

Mr. Griffith: I think my hon. friend is unnecessarily alarmed. The bill simply provides this, that in any Act the word property will be used in the sense assigned to it here, unless it is expressed that it shall have a more limited meaning. If anything causes it to be inconvenient to use the word in that sense, then we shall have to express that it is used in a more limited sense.

The amendments were then agreed to, and the third reading of the bill fixed for next day.