THE ROYAL COMMISSION
IDECAUSE its inquiry has been comprehensive and thorough, and it' has obviously been animated by a desire to give a fair and patient hearing to all points of view on relevant matters, the Royal Commission on Licensing has already gained a high public prestige. It has aroused a confident expectation that its report, when drawn up, will be a social document of unusual importance. Without traversing the evidence already given, it can be said that the character of that evidence has strengthened the public desire and hope that the Commission, when it deliberates on its report, will be satisfied that it has neither neglected to enter nor been debarred from entering any relevant field of inquiry. The decision of the Court of Appeal, reported yesterday, temporarily makes that impossible. The Court has decided that the Commission's order of reference is not wide enough to enable it to ask witnesses certain questions concerning contributions to party funds or political candidates.
This decision demands the immediate attention of Parliament, which is or should be aware that when the present investigation was promised, by both parties, the clear impression made on the public mind was that no relevant questions would be excluded from it. As to the relevancy of these questions there will be no doubt. If it has happened that parties .or candidates in the past, or parties or members in the present Parliament, have received contributions from persons or companies connected with the licensed trade—which has not been proved, and now, under the Court's decision, can be neither proved nor" disproved—then such contributions were not made in the hope of inducing in their recipients. an attitude sympathetic to the State cultivation of. begonias. The decision, indeed, places Parliament in an invidious position, for it is to be expected that the Commission will make recommendations for legislative action of some kind, and the public ought to be able to feel, and Parliament would wish it to feel, perfect confidence that such recommendations will be treated purely on their merits. It is for Parliament now tb say that it did not intend the' Commission's inquiry to be limited, and to repair that defect in its order of reference which the Court has declared to exist.
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THE ROYAL COMMISSION, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 191, 14 August 1945
THE ROYAL COMMISSION Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 191, 14 August 1945
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