Opinion Number. 921

Subject

COMMONWEALTH BANK: COMMONWEALTH IMMUNITY FROM STATE LAWS WHETHER COMMONWEALTH BANK IS SUBJECT TO STATE WORKERS' COMPENSATION LEGISLATION

Key Legislation

WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT 1918 (TAS.)

Date
Client
The Secretary to the Treasury

The Governor of the Commonwealth Bank has submitted for advice the question as to whether the Workers' Compensation Act 1918 (Tasmania) applies to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and its officers and employees.

Inasmuch as the Commonwealth Bank is the medium for carrying on many of the activities of the Commonwealth, e.g. flotation of war loans, I am of opinion that the Bank is an instrumentality of the Commonwealth, and, consequently, State laws imposing obligations, which if applied to the Bank would control or interfere with its operations, cannot be regarded as applying to the Bank (D'Emden v. Pedder 1 C.L.R. 91, at p. 111).

The Workers' Compensation Act 1918 (Tasmania) casts certain obligations on employers in relation to their employees. If those obligations are applied to the Bank in regard to its employees it would, in my opinion, constitute a control or interference with the Bank.

I am, therefore, of opinion that the Act in question cannot be applied to the Commonwealth Bank.

[Vol. 16, p. 225]