25 NOVEMBER 1938, Page 2

Unity in Australia The decision to formulate amendments to the

Australian Constitution, which will result in the Commonwealth adopting a more unified system of government, has much to commend it, but it is certain that it will meet with considerable resistance from the States. Mr. Menzies, the Attorney-General, quoted eight cases of glaring deficiencies in the Commonwealth's Constitutional jurisdiction. Since these include matters affecting trade, public health, company law, trade disputes, transport, fisheries, agriculture and unemployment, the mere recital of them makes unnecessary any further statement of the case for reform. The Constitution of Australia reflects the history of the Commonwealth, and the fundamental difficulty is that unity is impossible when there are seven sovereign parliaments, each of practically equal status, embracing 13 Houses, with more than 6o0 members, and 70 Ministers, with separate oversea representation and separate services. At present legislation is invalidated by constitutional restraints and even in national emergencies inaction and delay result when the Government's hands are tied. In re-writing her Constitution Australia has at any rate an accumulation of experience in the Dominions to guide her, and the vigorous spirit in which her vital problems are being tackled should help the Commonwealth to move successfully towards greater powers.

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