Opinion Number. 162



Key Legislation

CONSTITUTION, s. 51 (xxix) : EXTRADITION ACT 1903, ss. 6, 7

The Secretary, Department of External Affairs

The Secretary, Department of External Affairs:

The Extradition Bill had already passed both Houses when Mr Irvine's(1) communication was received, and has since been assented to.

The question of the power of the Commonwealth Parliament to legislate on the subject of extradition was considered before the Bill was drafted. Extradition, it is submitted, is clearly within the subject of'External Affairs'.

The concluding paragraph of Mr Irvine's letter appears to be based on a misapprehension. Reference to the Imperial Extradition Act will show that the powers vested by the Commonwealth Act in the Governor-General or his deputy relate only to the extradition to a foreign country of persons accused or convicted of offences committed in that country, and can have no application to offences against the laws of the Commonwealth or the States.

The sections of the Act which deal with extradition from a foreign country to Australia (namely sections 6 and 7), so far from being cumbersome to the States, greatly facilitate the procedure. It was formerly necessary to apply for such extradition through the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

That method will still be available if required; but when this Act comes into operation there will also be available, as an alternative, the simpler and more expeditious method of applying through the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth.

Recommend that the Prime Minister should be asked to inform Mr Irvine accordingly.

[Vol. 4, p. 65](2)

(1) Presumably William Hill Irvine, Premier and Treasurer of Victoria.

(2) This opinion was endorsed 'Approved' by Senator Drake, Attorney-General.