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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80a

Enclosures. — The Attorney General to Governor the Earl of Belmore


The Attorney General to Governor the Earl of Belmore.

My Lord,

Attorney General's Office,

When the first permanent nominations to seats in the Legislative Council were made by Sir John Young, an understanding was come to (as he informed me) between him and his then Executive Council that the number of Members should nor, as a rule, be allowed to exceed 27. The Constitution Act fixes a minimum number of 21, but there is no maximum; and, consequently, it is open_ to the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, to appoint as many Legislative Councillors as he may think expedient. When I went into office in 1863, my colleagues and myself acquiesced in the view taken by Sir John Young in this matter, and we did not press upon his Excellency to depart from the understanding already mentioned. The gentlemen who succeeded us in 1865 adhered to the same understanding, and no attempt, so far as I am aware, was made by them to act in opposition to it.

The experience of the last two Sessions, has, however, shown that, with so small a number as 27, it is very difficult to procure the requisite quorum to enable the House to proceed with its business. Many of the Members reside at considerable distances from Sydney, and cannot be expected to give that continuous attention to their legislative duties which residents in Sydney might render without much inconvenience. Under these circumstances, it has occurred to my colleagues and myself that it would greatly facilitate the dispatch of business in the Legislative Council if the number of Members were increased to 30, and we accordingly recommend that your Lordship will be pleased to sanction such increase.

I have, &c. (signed)

James Martin.