Opinion Number. 422

Subject

GOVERNOR-GENERAL WHETHER ABSENT FROM COMMONWEALTH WHEN TRAVELLING ON HIGH SEAS BETWEEN AUSTRALIAN PORTS : WHETHER DORMANT COMMISSION ACTIVATED

Date
Client
The Prime Minister

The Governor-General proposes to sail by the R.M.S. Otway, which leaves Adelaide on 28 July, and is due at Fremantle on 1 August.

It is proposed that His Excellency's successor shall be sworn in and assume office on 31 July.

The question has arisen whether, in view of the expectation that before His Excel-lency's arrival at Fremantle his successor will have assumed office, his departure from Adelaide will not involve absence from the Commonwealth within the meaning of Paragraph VII of the Letters Patent constituting the office of Governor-General, and Paragraph I of the Dormant Commission of 21 April 1909, so as to bring the Dormant Commission into force from the moment of his departure on 28 July.

The Governor-General desires to be advised on the question.

In my opinion, the Governor-General, whilst on the voyage from Adelaide to Fremantle, will not be absent from the Commonwealth within the meaning of the Let-ters Patent and the Dormant Commission. I do not think that the question whether His Excellency is or is not likely to arrive at Fremantle before his successor assumes office, can affect the legal aspect of the matter.

I therefore think that, in the events contemplated, the Dormant Commission will not come into force.

[Vol. 9, p. 61]