Opinion Number. 330

Subject

CONSULS WHETHER COMMONWEALTH HAS POWER TO COMPEL FORMER CONSUL OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENT TO CEASE EXERCISING CONSULAR FUNCTIONS

Date
Client
The Prime Minister

The Consul-General for France writes to the Governor-General, informing him that Mr Page, ex-Consular Agent for France at Adelaide, though repeatedly advised of the revocation of his appointment (notice of which was gazetted on 30 January 1909), continues to exercise the functions of Consular Agent, and to collect fees for documents which he illegally draws up; and also insists on keeping in his possession the seal, registers and archives which are the property of the French Government.

The Consul-General asks whether His Excellency can assist him in the matter-stating that he has reason to think that a mere intimation from the King's representative would suffice to bring Mr Page back into the path of duty, and that His Excellency does not lack coercive means, in the case of a person under his jurisdiction, to cause him, even without judicial action, to deliver up the seal, registers and archives, and to cease to exercise the functions of which he has been formally relieved.
The Prime Minister asks to be advised on the matter.

The matter as stated by the Consul-General appears to be one in which neither the Governor-General nor any Commonwealth authority has any power to take any effective action, and on the other hand to be one which can be dealt with by the courts of law of the State of South Australia on proper proceedings being taken. I think that the Consul-General's best course would be to consult his solicitor as to the action proper to be taken.

[Vol. 7, p. 93]