Opinion Number. 54

Subject

DEFENCE FORCES WHETHER COMMISSIONS GRANTED TO MILITARY OFFICERS PRIOR TO TRANSFER OF MILITARY FORCES TO COMMONWEALTH SHOULD BE ISSUED BY GOVERNOR-GENERAL OR STATE GOVERNORS : RETROSPECTIVE APPOINTMENTS

Author
Date
Client
The Minister for Defence

In the several States a number of commissions granted to military officers prior to the transfer of the Military Forces to the Commonwealth (1 March 1901) have not yet been issued.

In some of the States such commissions have been issued subsequently to 1 March bearing the signature of the State Governor. All such commissions are so worded as to date antecedent to 1 March, though the date of signature is subsequent.

Sir Samuel Griffith(1) has raised the question as to whether such commissions should be issued by the Governor-General or by the State Governor. He suggests that either course is attended by some formal difficulties. If the former is adopted, the Governor-General's commission would purport to create an office as from a date antecedent to the time when he first had authority to do so; while the latter course is open to the objection that the State Governor would be issuing commissions after his authority to make appointments had ceased to exist.

The Minister for Defence asks to be advised as to the question so raised.

In my opinion the commissions should be issued by the Governor-General, dated as on the date of issue, but expressed to take effect as from the date when the commissions were granted.

[Vol. 1, p. 388]

(1) Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor of Queensland, then administering the Government of Queensland.