4th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister of
Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are - 1 and 2. Good-conduct pay has been allowed since 1st July, 1909, to leading seamen, able seamen, and stokers of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.
It is proposed to review this matter when Admiral Henderson’s report is under consideration.
– I should like to ask the Minister of Defence whether the term -“ stokers “ in the answer which he has just given includes trimmers and all other stoke-hole workers?
– I cannot give that information at present. If the honorable senator will give notice of his question I shall be able to answer it to-morrow.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of External Affairs, upon notice -
What expenses were incurred by the Commonwealth Government in connexion with the representation of Australia at the Coronation of the late King Edward VII?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is -
Military contingent,£13,331 ; Prime Minister and clerical assistance,£1,850. Total,£15,181.
asked the -Minister re presenting the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Has the attention of the Postmaster-General been directed to the matter referred to in the following extracts from the Adelaide Register of 27th July, 1910, and 3rd November, 1910 : -
“WIRELESS AT PORT DARWIN.
Mr. CRUSH drew attention to a letter from the Government Resident at Port Darwin in reference to the probability of the instalment of a wireless telegraph system between Port Darwin and Timor Dilli, which, he stated, if established would be of the utmost importance, especially from a commercial stand-point, as it would bring Port Darwin in close touch with the cattle and other markets in close proximity to Port Darwin ; and asked if the Government would indorse the scheme with a view to its being submitted to the Commonwealth authorities?
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL replied that he would indorse such a scheme. It seemed an exceedingly good recommendation.
Mr. CRUSH drew attention to the recent visit of Portuguese officers from Timor to Port Darwin for the purpose of receiving information by cable from Lisbon, in connexion with the late revolution, and its effect upon Timor administration. As the Portuguese Government was prepared to install wireless’apparatus at Dilli, in Timor, with a view of getting communication between Timor and Port Darwin, would the Government place the matter before the Postmaster-General, with a view to the Commonwealth Government encouraging the Dilli authorities by establishing a station at Port Darwin to work in conjunction with them? Such a development would also become an important unit in the Australian system, which had already been suggested by the Commonwealth Government.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL replied that he would call the attention of the Commonwealth authorities to the matter.”
If so, with what result?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is -
The attention of the Postmaster-General has not been drawn to the matter, but, so far as he is aware, no communication has been received from the South Australian Government on the subject:
– Arising out of the Minister’s answer, I should like to ask him whether the Postmaster-General will cause inquiries to be made as to the desirableness of taking some action with reference to the matter referred to in my question ?
– I will bring the matter referred to in the honorable senator’s question under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to -
That so much of standing order No. 278 as refers to a period of twenty-one days be suspended for the purpose of expediting the passage through their remaining stages of the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill and the Constitution Alteration (Monopolies) Bill.
– Pursuant to the contingent notice of motion, I now move -
That there be a call of the Senate on Tuesday, the .15th day of November, 1910, for the purpose of considering the third readings of the Constitution Alteration (Legislative Powers) Bill and the Constitution Alteration (Monopolies) Bill. ‘
– I suggest to the Vice-President of the Executive Council that he should alter the date for which the call of the Senate is to lie fixed. I think I am correct in saying that it has been our practice that calls of the Senate should take place early in the sitting. There is just a possibility that if the call be fixed for Tuesday next, some honorable senators, by reason of accidents such as occasionally happen, may be prevented from arriving in time. It would make no difference to the ultimate passage of the Bills in question if the call were fixed for Thursday instead of Tuesday. I suggest to the Minister that he should try to meet what appear to be the necessities of the case by amending his motion.
– It was originally intended to fix the call of the Senate for Wednesday next, but on account of the arrival in Australia of a portion of the newly-built Australian Fleet, the Minister of Defence desires, if possible, to leave Melbourne on Wednesday next for Fremantle, where he will- meet the vessels. I may state, however, that I shall not bring on the call of the Senate until after dinner on Tuesday.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives stating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the Senate.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with a message intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate, except amendment No. 9, to which it had agreed with amendments.
– Pursuant to notice, I move -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the message being at once considered and all consequent action taken.
– I have no desire to delay business, but I suggest that it would be as well to deal with the amendments made by the House of Representatives in, say, half-an-hour’s time, in order that honorable members might have an opportunity of studying them. The amendments may be of a simple character, but at present I have no knowledge of what they imply.
– If the Standing Orders be suspended in accordance with my motion, I will agree that the amendments of the House of Representatives shall not be dealt with until the Senate has dealt with the Northern Territory (Administration) Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That the message be taken into consideration at a later hour of the day.
Debate resumed from 8th November (vide page 5737), on motion by Senator McGregor-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I have had an opportunity since last evening of looking through this Bill, which appears to me to be one of the type that may be described as formal machinery measures. It is necessary to meet circumstances which arise in consequence of the transference of the Northern Territory to the control of the Commonwealth. There is only one clause in it which, so far as I can judge, requires “ the attention of the Senate. For the rest the Bill seems to be on all-fours with similar measures that we have passed providing for the administration of Papua. It is an interim measure, and must be succeeded be- fore very long by a Bill providing, amongst other things, for the representation of the Northern Territory in the Federal Parliament. At present it does not appear to rae that the Bill needs any very close discussion.
– I agree almost entirely with Senator Millen’s statement, that this is merely a machinery Bill, and its passing is necessarily precedent to the taking over of the Territory by the Commonwealth. I wish, however, to call attention to what strikes me as a very- peculiar provision in the Bill. There can be no question that whether the Northern Territory is or is not taken over from South Australia by the Commonwealth, it is part and parcel of the Commonwealth of Australia. It is included in the territory coming under our internal management. Yet in this Bill, deliberately and of malice aforethought one might say, the administration of the affairs of the Northern Territory are placel in the hands of the Minister of External Affairs.
– Is there not an obvious reason for that?
– Of course, there is a very obvious reason, but I do not know whether it is so obvious that, the honorable senator can see it.
– I assume that it is because the Minister of Home Affairs has plenty to do with his “ rubber stamp,” whilst the Minister of External Affairs has very little to do.
– Why the administration of the internal affairs of a portion of the Commonwealth should be handed over to the foreign Minister in the Government is something that I find it difficult to understand.
– Why should Papua be administered by the Minister of External Affairs ?
– Because Papua is r.ot a part of the Commonwealth. It is a Territory under the control of the Commonwealth, but it is not, as the Northern Territory is, part and parcel of Australia.
– The Northern Territory will only be a Territory of the Commonwealth when it is taken over from South Australia.
– The honorable senator overlooks the fact that whether it is taken over or not, the Northern Territory remains part and parcel of the Commonwealth.
– It is not a State of the Commonwealth any more than is Papua.
– The obvious reason for the provision in this Bill to which I refer is that the Minister of External Affairs is a representative of South Australia, a resident of Adelaide, and may be expected to administer the affairs of the Northern Territory in the interests of Adelaide.
– That is a nasty insinuation.
– Why should the administration of the Northern Territory be placed in the hands of the Minister of External Affairs ?
– Because it will be a Territory of the Commonwealth.
– It will remain- part of the Commonwealth whether it is taken over from South Australia or not. Why this slur upon the Minister of Home Affairs. Is that honorable gentleman’s Department not competent to take over the management of the affairs of the Northern Territory ?
– That is not the duty of the Home Affairs Department at all.
– It undoubtedly is.
– The honorable senator knows better or ought to know better.
– Is the Northern Territory to be regarded as outside of the Commonwealth, and, therefore, to be administered by the Minister of External Affairs? Is it external to the Commonwealth? There is only one obvious reason foi this proposal, and I say that in the administration of the Northern Territory the guiding principle should be the interests of Australia, and not the interests of any one State.
– It is fortunate that a Queenslander is not to have the administration of the Territory.
– In this matter it appears to me that the Government policy is to deliberately sacrifice the interests of the Commonwealth in order to placate the people in one portion of it. The principle on which this policy is based is a pernicious . one, and it should not be tolerated by the Senate. It is a distinct slur upon the Department of Home Affairs and upon the Northern Territory itself that its administration should be placed in the hands of the Minister of External Affairs.
– The honorable senator’s remarks are an unwarrantable slur on the Government.
– The honorable senator has not stated his real objection.
– The warrant for everything I have said is to be found in clause 3 of this Bill, in which “ the Minister” is denned to mean the Minister of State for External Affairs. Is the Northern Territory external to the Commonwealth ?
– It will be until it becomes a State of the Commonwealth.
– That may be twenty years’ hence for all we know.
– We hope it will not
– Probably a Queenslander will be appointed Administrator of the Northern Territory.
– 1 am not saying whether the Administrator should be a Queenslander or a South Australian.
– The honorable senator is objecting to a South Australian being “ the Minister.”
– There is a reason for this palpable anomaly. I repeat that the proposal contained in this Bill, that the Northern Territory should be administered by the Minister of External Affairs is a distinct slur upon the Department of Home Affairs and upon the Northern Territory itself, which is being treated as if it were outside the Commonwealth, and not to be regarded as it ought to be as part and parcel of the Commonwealth.
– 1 recognise that this is merely a machinery Bill, but’ perhaps the Minister in charge of it will give us a little information in speaking in reply to the debate, with respect to a provision in the measure which we were promised would be brought forward when the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill was before the Senate. To make what I have to say quite- clear, I had better quote clause 9, containing the provision to which I refer. It reads -
The provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act 1906 shall apply to the acquisition by the Commonwealth, for any public purpose, of any land owned in the Territory by any person :
Provided that, in determining the compensation to which the owner is entitled under that Act, the value of the land shall be taken not to exceed the unimproved value of the land, or the interest therein of the owner, at the date of the passing of this Act, together with the value of the improvements on the land.
I recognise that it is essential to have such a clause in the Bill, but I have failed to notice any provision applying to lands held under leasehold, and I think the method of dealing with such lands is likely to be of far greater importance to the present generation of Australians than is the method proposed for dealing with freehold lands. I understand that the best portions of the Northern Territory, comprising about two-thirds of that part of it which is fit for settlement, are held under leaseholds with a tenure running up to fortytwo years.
– Clause 9 will apply to leaseholds as well as to freeholds.
– That is what I wished to know. I trust that in reply to the debate the Minister will make it quite clear that, should it be the desire of the people that lands held under leasehold should be surrendered within a reasonable time, the Commonwealth will not have to pay the present holders the value added to them by Commonwealth expenditure in the development of the Territory.
– I notice with great satisfaction that it is provided in this Bill that no Crown lands in the Northern Territory are to be sold. That is a distinct step in advance.
– Does the honorable senator regard that as a permanent provision ?
– I regard it as starting on right lines, and when we do- that it is probable we shall continue on them.
– Land monopoly is as possible under the leasehold system as under the freehold system.
– It may be, but I think it is better that Crown land should not be sold. I should like to ask the Minister in charge of the Bill whether the provision relating to Ordinances might not be liberalized. Could not a new departure be made. The Bill provides that Ordinances for the Northern Territory shall be laid before both Houses of this Parliament within a certain time, and either House may pass a motion disallowing them. Would it not be as well to give Parliament the power to amend any such Ordinances.
– I think that follows.
– Does it involve also the passing of Ordinances by this Parliament.
– This Parliament will have the right of veto.
– The right to object to or amend Ordinances.
– Is it not possible without the necessity of introducing a special Bill to enable this Parliament to carry a resolution instructing the Government in a certain direction to remedy any matter which, in the opinion of Parliament, might be neglected.
Sienator Millen. - No doubt . the Government would act upon a wish expressed by Parliament, and the matter of getting out a new Ordinance would only be a matter of twenty-four hours.
– In the circumstances I have nothing further to say. I am very pleased indeed to notice the provision applying to the method of dealing with the lands of the Northern Territory.
– As one who objected very strongly to the taking over of the Northern Territory under the conditions proposed, I feel that I should say something, on the matter referred to by Senator Givens. It may be only a coincidence, but it does seem rather peculiar that the Minister selected to administer the affairs of the Northern Territory should be a representative of an Adelaide electorate. Honorable senators who were strongly opposed to the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill feel that that measure was introduced and passed purely in the interests of South Australia. It may be only a coincidence that the Minister of External Affairs should be selected to administer the Northern Territory, but we might have expected that its administration would be left in the hands of the Minister of Home Affairs.
– Because the Northern Territory is part and parcel of the Commonwealth .
– It is not a part of any of the States.
– Even before we take it over it is a part of the Commonwealth, held under exactly the same conditions as any other part of Australia. The administration of all matters within the Commonwealth is in the hands of the Minister of Home Affairs. We have been told that the Minister of External Affairs administers the affairs of Papua. Of course he does, because Papua is not a portion of the Commonwealth. Queensland at one time administered the affairs of Papua, but upon the establishment of Federation we took over its administration as a Territory outside of Australia, and it naturally came under the External Affairs Department. The Northern Territory is in an entirely different position, and will remain a portion of the Commonwealth whether it is taken over under the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill or not. There may be nothing in the proposal to place it under the administration of the Minister of External Affairs, but it looks decidedly suspicious, and as if the intention were that it should be administered for the benefit of South Australia.
– “ Suspicion ever haunts the guilty mind.”
– Those who have been opposed to the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth under the conditions of the agreement” submitted in the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill have all along had more than a suspicion that the whole business was being transacted in the interests of South Australia.
– Rubbish !
– There is not the slightest doubt that the Commonwealth is to be saddled with the financial obligation of from , £15,000,000 to£20,000,000 in the interests of South Australia and of that State alone.
– Rubbish !
– South Australia in the control of the Northern Territory had a burden to bear which she could not carry any longer. She has been trying for years to get rid of that burden. I do not intend now to debate matters which were debated when we were considering the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, but we know that the statements of responsible Ministers in South Australia were quoted to show that South Australia desired to be rid of this burden. This Parliament has by a majority decided that the Commonwealth, should take over the Northern Territory. But before we pass this Bill it is right that those who are objecting to the transfer of the Northern Territory under the conditions proposed should say what they think of the business. I am disposed to agree with Senator Givens, and I honestly and firmly believe that this is not a pure accident, but a premeditated affair, and that the Government have deliberately handed the administration of the Northern Territory to an honorable gentleman who is a representative of the State from which we are taking the Territory. It will be impossible for that honorable gentleman, in the administration of the Northern Territory, not to be influenced by his natural feeling of concern for the interests of his own State.
– South Australians are broader-minded than are Queenslanders.
– South Australians are just as narrow-minded as are any other people, and this especially applies to Senator Story, who has always voted for anything which he considered to be in the interests of South Australia, whether it was in the interests of the Commonwealth or not. But this is a matter which affects the whole of Australia, and I say that the administration of the Northern Territory ought to have been placed in the hands of the Minister of Home Affairs. Had that been done, I would not have uttered a word upon this Bill. Of course, I recognise that my objections will be disregarded. The Government have a majority behind them. Nevertheless, it is my duty to enter my protest against any action of theirs which I conceive to be wrong. I believe that their action in placing the Northern Territory under the control of the Minister of External Affairs is a wrong one, and I should divide the Senate upon it if there were any prospect of doing so with success.
. -I agree with Senators Givens and Sayers that something has been done which requires explanation.
– The three Graces.
– Honorable senators do not seem to like this criticism. I have read in history that when some tyrant wished to execute a rebel against his authority, and when that rebel endeavoured to justify his action at the place of execution, the drums were immediately ordered to be sounded. We are having a repetition of those tactics this afternoon. When honorable senators rise to protest against one of the provisions of this Bill, they are met With. angry interjections from various quarters of the chamber. I agree with Senators Givens and Sayers that something altogether wrong is being done in connexion with the measure, lt seeks to place the control of the Northern Territory, which is a portion of the Commonwealth, in the hands of the Minister of External Affairs. What does the word “external” mean? I would refer honorable senators to the definition given by the dictionary, and if they will not accept Webster as an authority upon the matter, perhaps they will accept Johnson. I find that the word “ external “ means “ foreign.” Now is the Northern Territory foreign to Australia? It also means “exterior, lying outside.” Does the Northern Territory lie outside the Commonwealth? Is it exterior to Australia? The dictionary also defines “external “ as “ belonging to the world of outside things.” Does the Northern Territory belong to the world of outside things? Certainly not. Therefore, one would naturally expect its control to be placed in the hands of the Minister of Home Affairs. What would honorable senators say if the control of the Postal. Department were placed in the hands of the Minister of Defence, or if the control of the Defence Department were placed in the hands of the Minister of Home Affairs ? We have a Minister specially to control the Defence Department, another to administer the Department of Home Affairs, another to control the Postal Department, and still another to deal with External Affairs. “ External,” I repeat, relates to things outside of the Commonwealth. Every interest outside the boundaries of the Commonwealth is properly placed in the hands of the Minister of External Affairs. But in this .Bill an exception has been made to the general rule, and I think that - honorable senators may be excused if they wish to discover the reason why that exception has been made.
– What exception?
– The exception to the general rule.
– What is the general rule?
– I have already told honorable senators what is the general rule. I am not going to waste my energies by repeating it for the benefit of the VicePresident of the Executive Council.
– It is scarcely worth repeating.
– I know that its repetition would not convert the honorable senator. But I would like the VicePresident of the Executive Council to explain why this exception has been made to the general rule. . Why has the control of the Northern Territory been placed in the hand’s of the Minister of External Affairs rather than in those of the Minister of Home Affairs ?
– The honorable senator has not yet stated the general rule.
– The general rule is that each Minister confines his attention to his own Department. The Department of Home Affairs has to deal with all matters which are inside the Commonwealth, and the Department of External Affairs with all matters which are outside of it. Does anybody say that the Northern Territory is outside the Commonwealth ?
– Is it one of the States of the Federation?
– It is not, but it is, nevertheless, portion of the Commonwealth. It is not external to it. It is part and parcel of Australia. It is not on the-same footing as is Papua.
– Exactly the same. The honorable senator would say that Tasmania is outside of the Commonwealth.
– To talk like that is to talk the sheerest humbug. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council is so ignorant that he cannot perceive the mighty difference which exists between Tasmania and Papua, he ought not to occupy his present position. If he does perceive it, and endeavours to mislead others, he is unfit to hold his office. It seems to me that there is something behind this Bill which requires to be brought to the surface. The Minister of External Affairs happens to be a South Australian representative, and a gentleman who interested himself very keenly in pushing through the Shylock bargain which was made between that State and the Commonwealth.
– Order ! The honorable senator is not in order in using that term. He must withdraw it. Under the Standing Orders, he is forbidden to refer in such terms to legislation which has been approved by this Parliament.
– I withdraw the term. I will say that the Minister of External Affairs took a very prominent part in driving a hard bargain with the Commonwealth.
– At any rate, we think it was a hard bargain.
– Exactly. Under this Bill, the control of the Northern Territory will be entirely in his hands.
– He is a very good man, too.
– I do not say that he is not a good man for South Australia. But I doubt very much whether we shall get from him administration of the Northern Territory in the interests of the Commonwealth. We know that he is a very keen South Australian, and that he is much interested in giving effect to the policy of that State in regard to the Northern Territory. We know that he is anxious that the policy of development which is pursued in the Territory shall be in the interests principally of South Australia.
– That is not true.
– Order ! The honorable senator must withdraw that remark.
– Senator Stewart made an untrue statement-
– The honorable senator must withdraw his remark.
– If it be necessary to do so, I withdraw the statement.
– I think that the administration of the Northern Territory by the present Minister of External Affairs ought to be regarded with the closest scrutiny by members of the Senate. We know that that honorable gentleman has an unconscious bias in favour of South Australia as against the Commonwealth.
– It is easy to slander a man in his absence.
– In his absence? That is the purest “ tommyrot “ that I have heard uttered here. If honorable senators may only refer to persons when the latter are present in this chamber, they will not have a word to say about anybody. I am not talking of the Minister of External Affairs as an individual, but as a Minister. I say that the control of the Northern Territory has been wrongly placed in the hands of the Minister of External Affairs. As the present occupant of that office is a South Australian, who took an active part in pushing through the agreement for the transfer of the Territory to the Commonwealth, I hold that his administration of that Territory must be viewed by the Senate with a certain amount of suspicion. We require a man to control the Northern Territory who will administer it in the interests of the Commonwealth. But so far as we can judge from his past performances, the present Minister of External Affairs will take good care that anything which may be done there will be done primarily in the interests of South Australia. The Commonwealth will come in as a very bad second.
– That is a slander on Mr. Batchelor.
– It is not a slander. Politicians are only human beings.
– Order ! I must ask honorable senators to stop this continual fire of interjections. Senator Stewart has the right of speech, and honorable senators can reply to him after he has resumed his seat.
– It is an absolute slander.
– We know that politicians, like other persons, are human beings. We know that as much corruption has been carried on in political life in Australia as in any other circle, and what has occurred in the past may probably take place in the future. If those who believe in purity of government think that there is any fault or flaw in any proposed act of administration, they are quite right in pointing it out.
– The honorable senator seems to overlook this point, that the actions of the Minister will be reviewed by this Parliament, and not by the South Australian Parliament.
– That is all right. We know perfectly well what will happen if any acts of the Minister of External Affairs are brought up here. The honorable senator will be one to follow the Government and see the Minister through,, and more than a dozen will follow his example. There is not the remotest chance of carrying, anything against a Minister of the Crown whatever party is in power ; no matter whether it be the Labour party, the Conservative party, or the Liberal party. The majority of any party will see its Ministers through, no matter what they do, even if there is the grossest corruption. I have seen it myself, and I believe that I shall see more of it in the future.
– Do you allege that a member of this party would support corruption ?
– Order !
– I have said that I have seen that in the past.
– I ask Senator Needham to cease his interjections.
– Will you also ask other senators to cease their interjections ?
– Yes, I have asked honorable senators to cease their interjections, and to allow Senator Stewart to continue his speech in silence, as he is entitled to do under the standing order.
– Why did you single me out?
– Order ! I did not single out the honorable senator.
– You did.
– I asked two or three times that the running fire of interjections should cease.
– Other senators interjected, why single me out?
– Order ! I have not singled out any honorable senator. I asked that Senator Stewart be heard in silence, as he is entitled to be heard, but the honorable senator took no notice of the request.
– But other senators did the same as I did.
– Order ! Senator Stewart.
– I have said all that I desire to say in connexion with this matter. Senator Needham desires some explanation, and I am quite willing to give it.
– But you were asked several times before, and no heed was paid to the request.
– The honorable senator seemed to think that I had accused members of the Labour party of supporting corruption in this Parliament. I never did anything of the kind. What I said was that a majority of every political party, whether it be Labour, Conservative, or Liberal, always sees its own Government through, no matter what acts of corruption it is guilty of. That has been my experience. I do not see any particular reason to alter that opinion. There is another matter I desire to refer to, and that is the disposal of Crown lands. The clause which deals with the subject is very vague. It reads -
No Crown lands in the Territory shall be sold or disposed of for any estate of freehold, except in pursuance of some contract entered into before the commencement of this Act.
I wish honorable senators to remember that monopoly is just as possible under a system of leasehold as under a system of freehold, indeed, very much more so. We have an instance of that in the Northern Territory. There is land leased for the period of forty-two years, which can only be resumed by the Crown on the payment of very swingeing compensation to the lessees, and it is leased for the price of a mere song. If the land were held in freehold, the Commonwealth could immediately by land value taxation proceed to get the community-created increment, and deal in that way with monopoly. By means of taxation, it could compel the land to be placed to its best use. While I favour leasehold, my attitude depends on the kind of leasehold. This clause leaves it in the hands of the administrator to say what kind of leasehold there shall be - whether land shall be leased for forty-two years with revaluation at the end of every seven, ten, or twenty years. It is to be leasehold of some kind or other. If it is not leasehold of the right kind, then we shall give a monopoly of a much worse character than would be possible under a system of freehold. I think that the Government ought to explain clearly what sort of tenure it is intended shall prevail in the Northern Territory.
– As it seems quite probable that a vote may be taken on some of the provisions of the measure in Committee, I desire to make a few remarks so that the Minister may clear up some doubts in my mind when he is replying. I have a perfectly open mind on the only question which honorable senators are at variance, and that is as to whether the administration of the Northern Territory should be placed under the External Affairs Department or the Home Affairs Department. Although that is a matter of detail, still it involves a very big principle. It did seem to me peculiar that clause 3 should define “ the Minister “ to mean the Minister of External Affairs, seeing that geographically the Territory is within the boundaries of what is known as the Commonwealth. But, on consideration, it appears to me possible _ that the reason for this palpable anomaly is that, whereas the Home Affairs Department has quite enough work for one Ministerial head to look after, the External Affairs Department has not nearly so much work to do. In my view, the Minister of Home Affairs has just as much work as any Minister can reasonably be expected to control. At the same time, I think it must be palpable to everybody that the work attached to the Ministerial head of the External Affairs Department has not attained to anything like the same dimensions. The Home Affairs Department has to carry out all the arrangements in connexion with Federal elections. At a very early period it will be called on to carry out the works in connexion with the Federal Capital and the Federal Territory. It has also been indicated, although in a shadowy way, that in the very near future the Commonwealth will engage in the work of railway construction. I take it that the control of such work must be placed under the Home Affairs Department.
– How will it be if railways have to be constructed in the Northern Territory ?
– As Commonwealth works they must be under the control of the Home Affairs Department, unless a railway department is created with a Ministerial head. All the works in connexion with the Postmaster-General’s Department, defence buildings- in fact, all works required for the Commonwealth - are carried out by the Home Affairs Department. I think that honorable senators will admit that they have more to do with the Home Affairs Department than with other Departments, and that it is a very busy one compared with the External Affairs Department. It may be that, in his reply, the Vice-President of the Executive Council will enlighten the Senate on the point I have submitted. Another point was brought into the discussion when Senator Long interjected, “ After all, is the Northern Territory a portion of the Commonwealth in the same sense as are the six States?” Of course, anything in connexion with the States must necessarily be under the control of the Home Affairs Department. But just as Papua is a Territory taken over by the Commonwealth, so is the Northern Territory a Territory to be taken over by recent legislation, but not yet within the Commonwealth in the same sense as are the six component States. That consideration may have influenced Ministers in placing the administration of the Northern Territory under the control of the External Affairs Department, though on looking at the matter hurriedly, one would immediately say that it ought not to be under that control. I think that the discussion has clearly gone outside the real question at issue. I do not think that we ought to consider who is the Minister for the moment controlling the External Affairs Department. It does not seem right to assume that, because its present head happens to be a South Australian, he will administer its affairs in a manner which, will benefit South Australia to the detriment of other portions of the Commonwealth. It has been stated by Senator Givens, and supported by Senator Stewart, that the underlying reason for placing what they called this obvious anomaly in the Bill is the fact that Mr. Batchelor has the interests of South Australia more at heart that those of any other portion of the Commonwealth, and that he will administer the Northern Territory, if it is possible to do so, in the interests of that State.
– Does not the honorable senator trunk that it is possible, without making any personal inputations, to allow for such a factor as unconscious bias?
– That is quite possible; but does not the honorable senator also know that the personnel of Ministries changes frequently? In the history of Commonwealth Administrations, we have witnessed frequent changes of Ministers at the head of Departments. Mr. Batchelor is Minister of External Affairs to-day. He may be in control of some other Department to-morrow.
– Why is it necessary to name the particular Department in the Bill?
– It is surely necessary to name the Department which will have control over the Northern Territory. Do honorable senators who object to the proposed arrangement think that if, in the course of twelve months, or thereabouts, Mr. Batchelor is transferred to some other Department, a Bill will be brought down altering the administration of the Northern Territory, so as to allow of that South Australian Minister retaining charge of it? For my own part, I have sufficient faith in the Ministers whom I voted to place in office-
– When did the honorable senator vote for them?
– Honorable senators know very well that I voted for Ministers in that awful place known as the Caucus. Our cards are all upon the table. We do not Keep them up our sleeve. I do not say that I voted for Mr. Batchelor ; whether I did or not is a matter between me and my conscience.
– The honorable senator means that he has sufficient confidence in those Ministers for whom he did vote?
– I have sufficient confidence in the men for whom I voted, and in the men who have been placed in these honorable and responsible positions by the majority of the party to which I belong, to believe that, whatever States they represent, they will administer the
Departments committed to their charge, not in the interests of particular States, but of Australia as a whole.
– - The difficulties that have arisen might be overcome by inserting in the definition clause of the Bill words making clear what we mean by “ External Affairs.” I take it that “External Affairs,” as we use the term, means the affairs of any portion of Australia that is not directly represented in the Federal Parliament. In that sense, the Northern Territory is external. T quite agree with Senator O’ Keefe that too much responsibility has been thrust on the Minister of Home Affairs. But I differ from other honorable senators who have spoken in this respect. I am convinced that the present Minister of External Affairs is the best Minister in the Government to take charge of the Northern Territory. I have such a high regard for Mr. Batchelor that I believe we could not have a more capable administrator within the ranks of the present Government.
– No “smoodging!”
– I am not in the habit of “smoodging.” I always state what I honestly believe, and’ what I have said is my honest opinion. The point in the Bill to which I object is of a different character. I strongly object to the principle of disposing of Crown lands entirely on the leasehold system. If we wish the Northern Territory to go ahead, we must grant a freehold tenure to settlers. Otherwlse we shall not induce any number or persons to go up to develop the Territory. There is a good deal of reason for putting the Territory under the control of the Department of External Affairs; but I repeat ti at we should insert a definition to the effect that “ External Affairs,” as here used, means a portion of the Commonwealth not at present represented directly in the Commonwealth Parliament.
Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) [3.38J. - The Bill before us is not very voluminous, but some excellent information has been laid before the Senate concerning it. Senator Stewart, for instance, has supplied us with information of which we were previously entirely ignorant. He has gone to the trouble of searching Webster’s Dictionary, and finding out what the word “external” really means. We must be deeply indebted to any man who will take the trouble to do a thing like that ! Senator Walker desires to have a definition of the word inserted in the Bill. Certainly, he has departed from Webster’s definition, as quoted by Senator Stewart. I do not think that those who have listened to the three Queensland senators who have favoured us with their opinions on this subject can seriously blame them for offering a bitter, callous, and uncompromising opposition to everything pertaining to the Northern Territory, except in so far as Queensland expects to derive benefits from it.
– Their opposition is as understandable as the honorable senator’s support.
– My support may be easily understood. T have approached this question from the standpoint of a man who regards, not one portion, but the whole of Australia, as Australian.
– The honorable senator means Western Australian.
– No I have a regard to the interests of all Australia in any action that I have taken in regard to the measure before us. I have considered it and discussed it entirely from the point of view of its national importance. As far as concerns the accusations that have been made against the Minister - Mr. Batchelor - I desire to say that, as a senator, I regard them as contemptible.
– Order ! The honorable senator is not in order in using language of that kind regarding statements made by other honorable senators.
– I withdraw the word “ contemptible,” and will say that the statements made in respect to the character of the Minister who will have charge of this Territory, because he happens to represent an electorate in an adjoining State are, to say the very least of it, statements that ought not to have been uttered by men of intelligence. What would be thought of any senator who rose in his place and said that the Treasurer of the Commonwealth was unfitted to handle the finances because he happened to represent Wide Bay, and. therefore, might handle- the national funds in such a way as to shovel out a surplus for the advantage of his own State in preference to other States ? Surely we have not reached a stage in our national history when it is necessary to suspect a Minister of wishing to control affairs in the interest of his own electorate or State rather than in the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole. If that kind of thing is to be permitted, I am under the impression that our debates will soon drop to a very low and scandalous level. The three senators from Queensland who have spoken have endeavoured to show how logical it will be to place the Northern Territory under the control of the Minister of External Affairs. I, however, accept the position as laid down by Senator O’Keefe. The reasons that he gave appeal to me, as they must, I think, have appealed to other honorable senators who know anything about the Commonwealth Departments. If the arguments of the three Queensland senators are to have weight, the Government might take into consideration the aadvisableness of economizing by placing under the Minister o£ Home Affairs the control of all Departments affecting matters within the Commonwealth. That, indeed, would be the logical position for our Queensland friends to take up. If honorable senators contend that because the Northern Territory is a part of the Commonwealth it should be administered by the Minister of Home Affairs, and not by the Minister of External Affairs, they might just as reasonably contend that post-offices, defence matters, and Customs, which all deal with internal affairs, should be administered by the Home Affairs Department, and not by the Departments which at present have charge of them. To be logical, they should contend that all our Departments should be divided between two Ministers, the Minister of Home Affairs, and the Minister of External Affairs. The only reason why representatives of Queensland object to the administration of the Northern Territory being placed in the hands of Mr. Batchelor, or any other Minister of External Affairs, is that they are absolutely opposed, from a Queensland stand-point, to the Commonwealth having anything to do with the Northern Territory at all.
– The debate, so far, has been practically confined to the provisions dealing with the Minister who is to administer theaffairs of the Northern Territory. 1 wish, to say that I do not agree with the remarks which have been made by Senators’ Stewart and Givens upon this point. First of all, as was pointed out by Senator O’Keefe, the Minister of External Affairs might be changed at any time. Tn fact, the honorable senator practically prophesied that we may look for a change before very long. We should remember that the Northern Territory, on its transfer to the Commonwealth, will be a Territory of the Commonwealth in very much the same way as Papua is a Territory of the Commonwealth ; and we know that that Territory is administered by the Department of External Affairs. The Northern Territory will be outside what might be called the parliamentary ambit of the Commonwealth. Its affairs will be external, and not home affairs, so far as the Commonwealth Parliament is concerned, until it is given special representation and brought into the Commonwealth through its representatives in this Parliament. Senator Walker suggested that we ought to define the meaning of “The Minister of External Affairs.” I do not think that that is necessary; but perhaps the honorable senator would be satisfied with the definition involved in the advertisement of a Sydney tailor, who claims that he is a “ Minister of External Affairs.” I think the term has been sufficiently defined in our Statutes already. If we are to discuss the individuals who are administering our public Departments, I have no hesitation in saying that I would infinitely prefer- that the administration of the Northern Territory should be in the hands of the Honorable E. L. Batchelor than that it should be in tne hands of a Minister who has declared that he is nothing but a “ rubber stamp ‘’ stranded on a lone, sad, sea shore.
SenatorO’ Keefe. - In fairness to the Minister of Home Affairs, the honorable senator should admit that that gentleman said that all Ministers were rubber stamps.
– He could only speak for himself; and his statement was denied by the Acting Prime Minister on behalf of the rest of his colleagues. I should like to clearly understand whether we are to regard this measure as merely something to carry us over until the early part of next session. Unless that be so, we may be doing a certain amount of injustice to the white residents of the Northern Territory. When we establishedi Papua as a Territory of the Commonwealth, there were 300 or 400 white people in that Territory, and we promptly gave them a Constitution of a sort. We provided for a Lieutenant-Governor, an Administrator, and an Executive Council. In this Bill, we make no provision of that kind.
– The honorable senator must know that there is no time this session to make that provision.
– I have said that if the Bill is to be ‘.egarded as only a measure to carry us over until the beginning of next session, I have nothing further to say on the point. But I think it is necessary to remind honorable senators that, in dealing with Papua in 1905, we provided for an Executive Council and a Legislative Council, and the white people of the Territory were given a certain amount of representation. ‘ They were provided with a form of local government ; and I venture to say that the Northern Territory can never be satisfactorily governed until it is given some form of local government.
– We all agree with that.
– Judging by this Bill, the Government are prepared to delay the fulfilment of what they desire for the best part of twelve months at least.
– The Northern Territory will not be entirely without representation, because the white residents have a voice in the election of members of the Federal Parliament.
– In the Northern Territory there are, at present, from 1,500 to 2,000 white people.
– A population of 3,014 all told, including Asiatics.
– Why does not my honorable friend include the aborigines, and make the population 23,014? He must have got his figures slightly mixed.
– I got them from the Commonwealth Statistician.
– Just so; then they are probably very mixed. The Commonwealth Statistician knows nothing about the number of people in the Northern Territory, because no census has been taken there since 1901. The white population is about what I have said, or it was three or four years ago, when we visited the Northern Territory, and saw the annual report of the Government Resident. What I am pointing out now is that, short as is the time at the disposal of the Government during this session, it would have been possible for them to have included in this measure two or three clauses which were included in the measure dealing with Papua, giving the residents of the Northern Territory some form of local government, which would have furnished us with some guide as to the views of the white residents of the Territory when we come to deal with a permanent measure to provide for its government. I support this Bill, and I wish dis- tinctly to dissociate myself from the view expressed that it is possible that the Territory would be administered by the present Minister of External Affairs, with any de-
Fire to injure the Territory, or to do some particular good to South Australia.
Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) [3.55J. - I have only a few words to say on the second reading of this Bill. I regret that any heat has been engendered, and that, because of certain remarks made by Senator Stewart, I should have come into conflict with you, Mr. President. I also regret that you singled me out for something which I had not done; but I shall leave that aside. Referring to the remarks just made by Senator Chataway, I interjected, while the honorable senator was speaking, that the population of the Northern Territory is 3,014.
– Including Asiatics. That is what the honorable senator said.
– Yes; I am going to verify my statement. I have a return here which was supplied to me by Mr. Knibbs only yesterday afternoon, and from that return I find that the number of Europeans is : males, 973 ; females, 301 ; total, 1,274. Chinese: males, 1,439; females, 36; total, 1,475. Japanese: males, 126; females, 7 ; total, 133. Others : males, 108; females, 24; total, 132. I was speaking of Europeans and Mongolians, and my interjection was justified by these figures. Senator Chataway, who was of the party that visited the Northern Territory, knows that the return of the population in 1905, always excluding aborigines, was 3,374- From 1905 to 1909 there has been a decrease of 360. In dealing with this matter of the population, we refer, not to the aborigines, but to those of all nationalities who have come into the Territory from outside.. It is evident, from the figures I have quoted, that Senator Chataway was wrong in his statement as to the white population of the Northern Territory. I intend, in Committee, to oppose clause 3, placing the administration of the Northern Territory under the Department of External Affairs. I think it is a mistake to place the administration qf the Northern Territory under the Department cf External Affairs, and I do not care who the Minister may be, or of what Government he happens to be a member. In placing the Territory under the control of the Minister of External Affairs, we are saying that it is a foreign Territory.
– The honorable senator’s opposition is not based upon the fact that the Minister of External Affairs happens to be a representative of South Aus.tralia?
– I am not concerned as to the person who happens to be Minister of External Affairs. I think that the Northern Territory ought to be administered by the Department of Home Affairs, and I care not who the Minister of that Department may be. I am not speaking personally, but departmentally. I have as much confidence in Mr. Batchelor as I have in Mr. King O’Malley. I recognise the ability of both. But we are now dealing with a measure for the government of the Northern Territory, and this Bill may establish a precedent. A day may come when neither Mr. Batchelor nor Mr. King O’Malley will occupy the positions they now hold. I hope that day is far distant; but I think a mistake will be made if we impose upon the Minister of External Affairs the responsibility of administering the Northern Territory when we take it over.
– Why is that proposed ?
– I am not actuated by the same motives as Senator Stewart, who has cast aspersions upon the present Minister of External Affairs. Even if the Bill passes as it stands, I shall have every confidence that, although the present Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Batchelor, is a representative of South Australia, he will administer the affairs of the Northern Territory quite impartially.
– Can the honorable senator assign any reason why the Department of External Affairs has been chosen to administer the Northern Territory?
– I am no more in the secrets of the Cabinet than is SenaStewart; but I have a greater faith than he has in the honesty of human nature.
– I have not much.
– If the Minister of External Affairs were Senator Stewart or Senator Givens, or Senator Sayers, I should still oppose this clause, because I think it is wrong to dub the Northern Territory as a Territory foreign to Australia.
– If we struck out the clause, that Territory would still remain under the control of the Department of External Affairs.
– Of course it would.
– I do not think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council and the leader of the Opposition monopolize all the wisdom of the Senate, even when they happen to be in agreement.
– Whether the clause be retained or not, the effect will be the same.
– Another clause to which I object is clause 9, which contains the following proviso -
Provided that, in determining the compensation to which the owner is entitled under that Act- meaning the Lands Acquisition Act of
the value of the land shall be taken not to exceed the unimproved value of the land, or the interest therein of the owner, at the date of the passing of this Act, together with the value of the- improvements on the land.
I would remind honorable senators that, under existing conditions, there are, in the Northern Territory, men who own from 7,000 to 10,000 square miles of country, upon which they have not paid a single half-penny of taxation. I wonder why the Commonwealth should be asked to compensate these individuals?
– We ought to compensate them for their improvements.
– They have not made any improvements.
– Then they will receive no compensation.
– They have made no genuine improvements.
– Then the honorable senator may possess his soul in peace.
– We ought to have some guarantee that these men will not be compensated for improvements which they have not made. The position ought to be made perfectly clear. It frequently happens that the provisions of a clause contain hidden meanings. I intend to support the second reading of the Bill ; but, in Committee, I shall carefully watch the clauses to which I have directed attention.
– If no other honorable senator has any desire to ventilate his opinion in connexion with, this Bill. I have a few words to say in reply. I wish to congratulate the people of the Commonwealth upon having such champions of their rights and privileges as Senators Givens, Stewart, and Sayers. They are three stalwart champions who, when they are acting together, imagine that they possess all the wisdom, all the obstinacy, all the courage, and all the suspicion of the people of Australia. What a combination !
– We know the difference between Tasmania and Papua, anyhow.
– We shall see how much difference there really is between those two places, and how much the honorable senator knows about it. I think that the people of Australia ought to rest secure in the knowledge that, in the three honorable senators whom I have mentioned, they have men who, even when the shadow of suspicion is cast upon the fair fame of the Commonwealth, are prepared to sacrifice both the time and the privileges of this Parliament in the defence of their rights. They remind me of the three Roman heroes who, kept the bridge. I do not know which of them should really be characterized as Horatius. They remind me of the three Roman heroes, with this difference : that when the bridge fell, the three noble Romans fell into the generous waters of the Tiber, whereas, when the bridge falls on the present occasion, these stalwart champions in the Senate will fall into the sink of suspicion and into the mud of aspersion.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council must have been studying ancient history.
– I can only judge of what will occur from what has occurred. There are other honorable senators who, without attempting to cast blame either on the Government or on the Minister who under this Bill will control the affairs of the Northern Territory, are nevertheless labouring under a misapprehension. As a matter of fact, the duties allocated to the different Departments under the Commonwealth Government, were not allocated by the present Ministry. The last attempt made in that direction was made as far back as 1906. It was then decided that one of the duties of the Minister of External Affairs should be to administer the Territories of the Commonwealth which are not States of the Commonwealth. Senator Stewart knows all about everything, but he does not payvery much attention when he might receive instruction. When he has had his own say he either absents himself from the chamber, or he remains indifferent when any information is being imparted. He is not indifferent to it when he is speaking, but he is very insulting. Now there are two kinds of territories for which provision is made in the Constitution. They are distinct from each other, and have varying possibilities. One class of territory has to be ceded to the Commonwealth for the purposes of the Federal Capital. That is a class of territory which can never become a State of the Commonwealth. In other words, it can never receive anything more than the powers of municipal government. But provision is also made in the Constitution for another class of territory - and this marks the difference between what is “foreign” and what is “external.” Some honorable senators imagine that everything external must necessarily be foreign. But that is not so. There may be no foreign matter on the outside of an eggshell, but there may be external matter all the same. In the same manner there may be a great deal of land even on the Continent of Australia which is external to Australia so far as the Commonwealth Parliament is concerned. The second class of territory contemplated under the Constitution is territory which may be ceded to the Commonwealth by any State, and which then becomes a Territory of the Commonwealth. :Such a Territory is Papua, which has always been administered by the Minister of External Affairs. The Northern Territory is about to be ceded to the Commonwealth by South Australia, and consequently it will become a Territory of the Commonwealth. Under the arrangement which was made in 1906 that. Territory will be administered by the Minister of External Affairs, whoever he may be, and quite irrespective of whether he is a Queenslander, a Tasmanian, a New South Welshman, or a Western Australian. The Northern Territory will automatically pass under the control of the Department of External Affairs. No consideration has been given by the Cabinet to the question of which Minister shall control it when it becomes a Territory of the Commonwealth. The question has never been raised. I ask honorable senators who took such a lively interest in the discussion upon the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, whether they noticed the Department by whose instructions that Bill was drafted? “Was it not the Department of External Affairs? But to please Senators Stewart, Givens, and Sayers, forsooth, the Govern ment must rearrange the whole of its administrative offices.
– A good job too.
– It would be a good job in the opinion of some persons if Ministers were wiped out of existence, and a new set elected by the Caucus. But that result is not going to be brought about in the immediate future. Nothing has been done in- an underhand way, or in a way which warrants any honorable senator, who is an honorable senator, in casting aspersions upon the Government. Nothing has been done which was not done four years ago when the administrative functions of the various Ministers were arranged. I fail to understand why some honorable senators make such a fuss about the Northern Territory being administered by the Minister of External Affairs. It is a coincidence, and nothing more, that that Minister is a South Australian.
– He might have been a Queenslander.
– He might have been. But he happens to be a South Australian, and the administration of the Northern Territory naturally falls under his Department, without any action of the Government. Why it should be contended that its administration should be placed under the Minister of Home Affairs I cannot understand. Does Senator Stewart know what the functions of that Minister are? In this Parliament he occupies a similar position to that which the Minister of Public Works occupies in a State Parliament.
– Why do you not name him what he is?
– The honorable senator is as much responsible for the christening as I am.
– No, I had nothing to do with it.
– The honorable senator was in this Parliament when the title of the Minister of Home Affairs first saw the light of day, but he raised no objection. If he was not prepared to take that step at the christening feast he should for ever hold his peace. The Minister of Home Affairs has charge of all the machinery in connexion with the electoral matters, the census, and public works. It is wrong to imagine that he has anything more to do than has the Minister of External Affairs. Every Minister has his own work to do, and although the work of seme Ministers may not come so prominently before Parliament as does that of the Minister of Home Affairs, or Postmaster-General, or Minister of Defence, that is no reason why any one should imagine that any Department has not a sufficient amount of work to justify its existence. The Department of Home Affairs is not the one under which the administration of a measure of this description should come. I have already stated that the Federal Capital territory can never become a State, but any territories which are external to the Commonwealth can ultimately become States. I hope that Senators Stewart, Sayers, and Givens will live long enough to see, not only the Northern Territory, but also Papua, become States.
– That is another question.
– The same automatic course has been pursued. There never was a question as to which Department the administration of either Territory ought to come under. I have already stated that it was the ultimate aim of the Government to provide a Constitution for the Northern Territory, and that this was only a Bill providing for its immediate administration. I explained that as soon as certain inquiries had been concluded and the Government had the necessary time at their disposal, the question of granting a Constitution would be gone into, that Parliament would have an opportunity of expressing its will, and that the people of the Territory would then be placed in exactly the same position as the people of Papua. Senator Walker has. suggested an amendment to clause 3. But I would point out that, as the functions of the Minister of External Affairs are already clearly defined, there is no necessity for dealing now with them. As regards striking out the clause, it contains only two definitions, one defining “ the Minister “ and the other defining “ the Territory.” If the two definitions were struck out it would not, as Senator Millen said, make a bit of difference. It would still be the Northern Territory and administered by the Minister of External Affairs. There is no necessity to interfere with the clause. It says what it means - nothing more and nothing less. As regards clause 9, some objections have been raised by Senator Needham with respect to improvements which have never been made. I hope that there is no citizen of Australia or of a Territory under the Commonwealth who would be prepared to put in a claim for improvements which have not been made. I am quite sure that if he did he would not get anything.
– But the clause speaks distinctly of the improvements on the land. They must, therefore, be in existence.
– If the improvements are on the land they must have been paid for or made by the present lessee. In the former case he has as much right to payment for them as he had to pay the previous leaseholder. There appears to be a doubt in the minds of some honorable senators regarding clause 9, which deals with leasehold as well as . with freehold. They seem to forget that if any person has an interest in a leasehold, and it is required for public purposes, it can be acquired under the Lands Asquisition Act, just as if it were a freehold. There ought to be no doubt in the mind of any one with respect to that provision. The only other debatable clause is the one dealing with Crown lands. It provides that no Crown lands shall be sold except in pursuance of some contract entered into before the commencement of the Act. I am sure that Senator Stewart and others, who ought to be on this side, will raise no objection to that.
– What kind of leasehold do you propose?
– We are not proposing any kind of leasehold in this measure, which it has been declared, often enough, is of a temporary character; but the honorable senator will have an opportunity of dealing with that question when a Constitutionfor the Territory is submitted. Under this temporary measure, every member of this Parliament will have a voice with respect to any Ordinance which is passed for the Northern Territory. Every Ordinance will be duly laid on the table of each House; and if it is disproved by either House, I am sure that no Government would neglect to take into consideration its wishes by submitting a new Ordinance. I think that I have referred to nearly all the objections which have been raised.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
In this Act - “the Minister” means the Minister of State for External Affairs; “the Territory” means the Northern Territory.
– I suggest to the Minister the advisability of omitting this clause. He has agreed with an interjection of mine that it is like a chip in porridge, that if it is struck out, the Northern Territory will, by virtue of the proclamation, pass under the control of the External Affairs Department. That being so, I think it is not only undesirable, but might be injurious, to retain the provision. Suppose that at a later period it was desired to re-adjust the duties of the various Departments. The Government would then have to bring down a Bill to amend this measure. At present, it is sufficient for the Cabinet to make a fresh allotment of the duties of the various Departments if it thinks fit, and by the issue of another proclamation, to give effect to the re-adjustment. I would remind the Minister that the measure dealing with the Federal Territory contains no provision setting out the Department under whose control it shall pass. The reason for the absence of the provision is obvious. It is all covered by the proclamation. It is undesirable to adopt one procedure in regard to one Bill and another procedure in regard to a similar measure.
– This clause may tie our hands in the future.
– I think it will. It introduces a want of uniformity. I suggest to the Minister that if he decides upon retaining the clause, and if the Committee concurs in his opinion, a similar clause should be inserted in the other Bill when it comes on.=
– I am quite willing to leave out the clause.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [4.28].- While it is perfectly true that there is no necessity to define “ the Minister,” still, “ the Territory “ appears in several provisions, and there ought to be a definition of the term. It will not be enough to enact in clause 4 that the GovernorGeneral may appoint an administrator for “ the Territory.” It will be necessary to make it clear that it refers to the Northern Territory. Again, in clause 12, the term “ the Territory “ appears in two places.
– I think it would be better to leave it in.
– I think that if an alteration is to be made, it ought to be confined to the elimination of the definition of “ the Minister.” If that definition be retained, it will confine the administration of the Act to the Minister of External Affairs, and that might hamper the hands of the Government in the future. If they should consider it advisable hereafter to place the administration of the Northern Territory under another Minister of State, that would have to be done by Statute. If, on the other hand, the definition be deleted, the proclamation placing the administration of that Territory under the Minister of External Affairs could be altered at any time without interfering with the Act.
– I have further considered this matter, and think that it would .be. better to leave the definition clause as it stands. It might otherwise be imagined by people outside, who read the statements which have been made by some honorable senators this afternoon, that the Minister of External Affairs was deprived of the control of the Northern Territory on account of the suspicions to which expression has been given. That is a fair assumption. When we come to consider that a definition of the Territory is necessary, I think, in view of what has already been said, that it would be far better to take the clause as it is. I hope that Senator Millen will see the justice of that position.
– I had hoped that the VicePresident of the Executive Council would welcome the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition to omit the whole clause. I still object to the wording of it. My objection is not advanced because I have any suspicions about Mr. Batchelor. I think that the remarks of the VicePresident of the Executive Council on that subject were uncalled for. There is no reason, because any . honorable senator has dared to express his opinion about the clause, to say that hehas reflected upon the character of a particular gentleman.
– I do not say that the honorable senator did, but other honorable senators did.
– T was one of those who, at the second-reading stage,, opposed the clause because I was of” opinion that the Territory ought not to beplaced under the control of the Minister of External Affairs.
– The honorable.senator is wrong.
– I may be wrong, but I have a right to express my. view.
– Certainly, whether right or wrong.
– I have no suspicions about Mr. Batchelor. I have every confidence in him. But, nevertheless, if Senator Millen moves to omit the clause, I shall support him.
– It is a reflection upon the Minister.
– I shall support such an amendment, because, in my opinion, the clause practically dubs the Northern Territory as something outside Australia.
– It is outside the Commonwealth.
– It is, according to the Vice-President of the Executive Council’s definition.
– Politically, but not geographically.
– The Commonwealth has taken over from South Australia a portion of the Territory of that State known as the Northern Territory. Surely, South Australia is in the Commonwealth.
– Cannot the honorable senator see the difference between a geographical and a political inclusion?
– I do not want to see it. We are not dealing with the question of ceding the Territory to the Commonwealth. We have taken it over.
– No ; it is not part of the Commonwealth proper.
– What does the Commonwealth consist of? Six States. What is the Northern Territory?
– What are we going to make of it?
– We are not going to make it a seventh State.
– Nevertheless I contend that the Territory is a portion of the Commonwealth.
– Geographically, yes.
– By placing the administration of the Territory even provisionally in the hands of the Minister of
External Affairs, we are dubbing it as something like a foreign element.
– When the honorable senator begins to learn the difference between foreign and external, I may be able to agree with him.
– I respectfully suggest to the Vice-President of the Executive Council that if he will not accept the suggestion of Senator Millen, he should at least agree to insert the word “ Home” instead of “ External.”
– I very much regret the personal element that has been introduced into the debate. It rather seems to me that if a South Australian happened to be Minister of External Affairs, instead of being biased in his administration in favour of his own State, he would be so careful in his conduct as to insist on things being strained against his State, so as to make sure that he was not’ exercising undue influence in its favour. Suppose that the Minister of External Affairs were a Queenslander. Is it to be supposed that any man occupying his position would unduly strain matters so as to take the railway through his own State? I should hope that he would not. But according to some honorable senators who have spoken, that is just the position that such a Minister would take up. It is altogether wrong to impute conduct of this kind to a Minister, no matter who he is. The Minister is responsible to Parliament, and if he commits any maladministration, or uses any undue influence, his conduct may be reviewed in Parliament. No matter what Government may be in power, the conduct of a Minister should not be impugned without specific reason being given. Nothwithstanding, however, what has been said by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I think that he would be welladvised to amend the definition by striking out the first part of it. I do not see that by making this amendment we should be expressing any lack of confidence in the Minister of External Affairs, or that we should be casting any suspicions upon him. In every way, it would be better if the first part of the definition were eliminated. It might be desirable to place certain matters affecting the Territory in the hands of the Minister of Trade and Customs or in the hands of the Treasurer. It might be desirable for many reasons to make alterations in the methods of administration. In that event if this provision were retained it would be necessary to introduce an amending Bill. By leaving out the words to which I have referred, however, the Territory would pass under the control of the Minister of External Affairs for the time being, and it would be possible to make any administrative alteration later on which might be deemed desirable. I therefore suggest that the Vice-President of the Executive Council should accept a modification of the definition in the direction indicated.
. -My attitude with regard to the clause under discussion is this : I think that, no matter who the Minister of External Affairs may be, it is a pity that a portion of the Commonwealth should be placed under the control of his Department. My objection would be just as strong if the present Minister of Home Affairs were Minister of External Affairs. It would, in my view, under such circumstances, be equally reprehensible to take this Territory away from the Department of Home Affairs and have it administered by the Department of Externa] Affairs. The Territory remains now what it was before, an integral portion of the Commonwealth. It was a portion of the Commonwealth when the Federation was established, and nothing that we can do will remove it from that position unless we are willing to turn traitors to our nation and hand the Territory over to a foreign Power. In no other way can we free ourselves from the obligation of regarding it as a portion of the Commonwealth. That, I think, is a proposition that will not be denied by any one. The only difference in the situation now is that we are assuming a dual function towards the Northern Territory. Formerly we had control over it to the extent that the Commonwealth has control over any portion of Australia. Commonwealth laws apply to every portion of Australia. Now, however, we are undertaking additional functions. We are undertaking functions affecting the Territory which formerly were fulfilled by the Government of South Australia. But the assumption of these functions is in -no sense an abnegation of the control which we formerly exercised. We have had a good deal of special pleading- with regard to this matter. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has observed that the Department of Home Affairs is merely a Works Department. The honorable senator must think that this Senate consists of a flock of sheep or a lot of fools. There is on the notice-paper of the Senate at the present moment a matter relating to the census. The Home Affairs Department has control of that business. What has a census to do with works ? Yet that is the sort of paM and piffle we get from the Vice-President of the Executive Council when he tells us that the Department is merely a Works Department ! The Department of Home Affairs also has control of electoral business. Has that anything to do with works? The special pleading that we have heard on this subject is absolutely ridiculous. To place the Northern Territory under the control of the External Affairs Department is to cast a slur upon it. It is to treat it as something external to the Commonwealth. I hope that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will accept Senator Millen’s suggestion, and that if he cannot see his way to amend the definition he will agree to leave out the clause altogether.
.- I am quite in agreement with the opinion expressed by the two previous speakers. I think that the Vice-President of the Executive Council ought to have no hesitation about withdrawing the clause.
– A portion of it.
– He should withdraw that. portion dealing particularly with the control of the Territory by the Minister of External Affairs. I take it that a certain amount of reflection is being cast upon the Home Affairs Department by placing the Territory under the control of another Department.
– What has the Home Affairs Department to do with the matter ?
– The Home Affairs Department will have a great deal to do with the results that will flow from the passing of this Bill, inasmuch as Commonwealth works carried out in the Territory will be under its control.
– That is the proper function of the Home Affairs Department.
– Decidedly it is. For that reason I think that the contention of the two previous speakers is well worthy of consideration. Will not the proposed railway be - a matter coming under the Home Affairs Department’!-
– Only the construction of it.
– That will be a very big item.
– Not necessarily, because, as Senator Givens has pointed out, the Commonwealth may consider it advisable to start a railway construction branch in the Territory itself.
– That may be so, but I would ask Senator Millen whether he thinks it is necessary that we should create a second survey staff for work in the Northern Territory. Would it not be more businesslike to have the survey staff as it is now, under the control of the Home Affairs Department. It has taken ten years to build up the Home Affairs Department, and it is now a well-organised department.
– Has the Home Affairs Department enough to do at the present time?
– My experience is precisely the same as that of my honorable colleague, Senator O’Keefe, and I should say that the Department of Home Affairs has a good deal to do. It was to be expeered that the business of the Department would continue to increase. In my opinion, it is very illogical to suggest that we should create a second survey department solely for the Northern Territory.
– No such proposition has been made. The honorable senator is losing sight of the fact that . this Bill may continue in operation only for a year.
– That is no argument for the introduction of unnecessary provisions, and I agree with those who have objected to this clause.
– -I thought at one time that the VicePresident of the Executive Council would have been willing to accept an amendment of the clause which would meet the views of many. honorable senators. I have said that it may be but a coincidence that the honorable gentleman at the head of the External Affairs Department is a representative of South Australia, but my objection is to this matter being taken out of the hands of the Department of Home Affairs. If I had not objected on that account I shorn1 d not have said .anything on the matter. It has been said that we have sought to cast some reflection upon the honorable gentleman at the head of the External Affairs Department, but I remind honorable senators that every time a representative of Queensland has risen to oppose the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth under the conditions of the agreement submitted, his opposition has been attributed to personal and State motives. It would seem that what is sauce for the goose is not to be sauce for the gander. I repeat what I have already said, that I was not requested by any one in Queensland or anywhere else to oppose the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill. But I was elected to the Senate pledged against the taking over of the Territory on the conditions proposed.
– The honorable senator was looking forward.
– There we have the same thing again. No matter what is said by a representative of Queensland, ulterior motives are immediately suggested. In my objection to this provision, I have not reflected personally upon the gentleman at the head of the External Affairs Department. Outside political matters I do not think there is a member of this Parliament for whom I have a greater respect than I have for Mr. Batchelor. My remarks were not intended to be personal to him in any way. I should “be very sorry if anything I have said could be taken to reflect upon the honorable gentleman in his private capacity.
– The honorable senator did not object when Senators Givens and Stewart reflected upon the honor.oble gentleman.
– I am speaking for myself, and both the honorable senators to whom the Vice-President of the Executive Council has referred, are well able to speak for themselves.
– But the honorable senator is changing his attitude.
– I am not changing my attitude at all. The Vice-President of the Executive Council said that he would have accepted the amendment only for what had been said by some honorable senators. I take it that he referred to me as well as to other members of the Senate, and I am now saying that I intended no personal reflection upon Mr. Batchelor. I do not believe that other honorable senators did either. Even if they did, it should not be forgotten that it has been constantly thrown in the teeth of representatives of Queensland that their opposition to the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill was due to some ulterior motive, because they had a purpose to serve in connexion with the proposed railway. That was said especially by representatives of South Australia.
– Shocking !
– It did not trouble honorable senators representing Queensland, but I contend now that we have as much right as has any one else to expect to be protected against such insinuations. If the Vice-President of the Executive Council will accept the suggestion which has been made by honorable senators on both sides for the amendment of this Bill, everything will go on smoothly.
– Surely we may assume that the Government, who will be responsible for the successful administration of the Northern Territory, have given full consideration to the question as to which Minister should be given charge of its affairs.
– We have been told that the matter was never mentioned in the Cabinet.
– Surely the Minister who introduced the Bill knows which member of the Government has most time at his disposal to devote to this work.
– That question does not enter into the matter at all. The control of the affairs of the Northern Territory goes automatically to the Minister of External Affairs.
– What we have to consider is how we are going to treat the Territory when we take it over. I assume that we are not going to accept it as a new State. In my judgment, it will not have reached that dignity for another quarter of a century.
– That is the opinion of an honorable senator who supported the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill.
– I should be very glad if it were possible to recognise the Northern Territory as a new State within two years, but I realize that we have big problems to face in the Northern Territory, and, personally, I should like to see a new Minister intrusted with the sole responsibility of administering its affairs. I remind honorable senators that the External Affairs Department has already had some little experience of the control of a Territory which is not on exactly the same footing as a State, whilst the Home Affairs Department has had no experience of that kind. The administration of a huge tract of country like the Northern Territory is a very different thing from the purchase of a block of land in Victoria, or in New South Wales, for a post-office. The External Affairs Department at the present time, if not underworked, is certainly not overworked, and should, I think, have sufficient time at its disposal to organize a special staff for the administration of the affairs of the Northern Territory.
– The honorable senator would treat the Northern Territory as foreign to the Commonwealth?
– I certainly should not, but I am not prepared to treat it as a State of the Commonwealth, nor do I believe any other member of the Committee is prepared to .do that. It should not be beyond the capacity of the External Affairs Department to administer the Northern Territory. This is merely a provisional measure, and if, after a little experience, we find that the External Affairs Department is capable of administering the Territory in a manner satisfactory to this Parliament, we might overcome the objection to the Minister of External Affairs by adding to his title that of “Minister for the Northern Territory.” ‘
– Why should we not place the administration of the Territory in the hands of the Department of Home Affairs ?
– Because I believe that it would be completely outside the scope of the present Home Affairs Department, which ‘is, after all, a Public Works Department.
– What about the Census Act, the Electoral Act, and the many other measures which it administers?
– I have never known the Public Works Department of a State to be intrusted with lands administration, and, in my opinion, the administration of the land will be one of the biggest problems we shall have to solve in the Northern Territory. I believe that the External Affairs Department has most time at its disposal, and is capable of organizing the administration of the affairs of the Northern Territory. I may not be so optimistic as are some honorable senators, but I believe that for several years to come we shall require to have a Department specially created to administer the Northern Territory. Though that might be difficult, I should like to see a new “Minister appointed for the purpose.
– We have two Honorary Ministers.
– Surely the honorable senator would not hand over the administration of the Northern Territory to an Honorary Minister?
– We might have a separate Department without an extra Minister.
– The affairs of the Territory might be managed by one of the existing Departments for a time, but ns we undertake considerable expenditure in the development of the Territory, we may alter this provisional legislation, and put a Minister solely in charge of it.
– Is the honorable senator arguing that the External Affairs Department has not enough to do?
– I am arguing that that Department is quite capable of administering the affairs of the Northern Territory until this Parliament is prepared to take the responsibility of spending considerable sums of money there.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the Home Affairs Department is equally capable of managing the Territory?
– No, I do not. I believe the Home Affairs Department have plenty of work to do, and that the administration of this Territory would be altogether outside the scope of its proper work. 1 accept this measure as merely provisional, and I hope that in the not far distant future, we shall have a special Department created for the administration of the Northern Territory, and that the responsibility for its administration and the spending of considerable sums of money in the Territory will be in the sole charge of one member of the Government.
– This discussion must be as interesting to other honorable senators as it is to me, but I venture to say that it is somewhat beside the question we are now called upon to decide. We have not to ask whether the External Affairs Department would be the worst or the best Department to administer the affairs of the Northern Territory. The question before the Com,mittee is : Shall we retain in this Bill words which mean nothing? ‘
– But which might mean something.
– They might mean something to restrain us. but their retention will not assist us to enlarge our opportunities.
– It is like a chip in porridge.
– Yes, with the chip just long enough to cause one inconvenience. If we strike out the portion of the clause to which I have referred the administration of the Northern Territory will still fall under the Department of
External Affairs. As long as the proclamation remains in existence, that Department will administer the Northern Territory unless this Parliament chooses to take some drastic action. Nobody has suggested that it should take action of that character.
– Senator E. J. Russell has suggested the creation of a Minister to specially control the Territory.
– I do not call that drastic action. It is heroic. But I am not sure that Senator E. J. Russell has not indicated the lines upon which in the future we shall have to travel. Before very long, I think, we shall find it desirable to create a special Department to administer the affairs of the Northern Territory. In the first place, the VicePresident of the Executive Council recognised that there was sufficient virtue in the arguments which have been advanced to induce him to agree to strike out the clause. But now that we find it is necessary to retain a portion of the clause, he insists upon retaining the whole of it.
– How does the honorable senator account for the fact that in the Act relating to Papua the Minister of External Affairs is specially mentioned as the Minister who is to control that Territory ?
– How does the VicePresident of the Executive Council account for the fact that in the measure dealing with the Federal Territory the Minister who is to control that Territory is not mentioned ?
– Because that Territory can never become a State of the Commonwealth.
– From my point of view, whether this portion of the clause is retained or not will make no difference. But seeing that there is a possibility that in the future it may tie the hands of the Government it should be struck out. The only argument advanced by the VicePresident of the Executive Council against the adoption of that course - and it was an argument which was not worthy either of this Chamber or of the honorable gentleman - was that it might be regarded as a reflection upon the present Minister of External Affairs. That suggestion is too absurd for serious consideration. Nothing that has been said here to-day was in any sense a reflection upon that gentleman. As it is obvious that by retaining these words we may restrain the action of Ministers in the future, I move -
That the words “ ‘ the Minister ‘ means the Minister of State for External Affairs” be left out.
– I intended to move the substitution of the word “ Home “ for “ External.”
– I have already given notice of my intention to do that.
– When I made my previous remarks on this clause I was not aware of the existence of the proclamation of which we have since heard. Consequently, it did seem strange that the administration of a Department which obviously ought to be under the control of the Department of Home Affairs should have been placed in the hands of the Department of External Affairs.
– Another proclamation could settle the matter in the other way.
– Yes, and I suppose that the insertion of a clause in this Bill would nullify that particular portion of the proclamation. In any case, I still adhere to the opinion that the Northern Territory should be administered by the Minister of Home Affairs. Matters pertaining to that Territory - from whatever point of view they may be regarded - are matters affecting the Commonwealth. Section in of the Constitution reads -
The Parliament of a State may surrender any part of the State to the Commonwealth ; and upon such surrender, and the acceptance thereof by the Commonwealth, such part of the State shall become subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commonwealth.
Now, South Australia proposes to surrender a portion of her Territory to the Commonwealth. When she has done so that portion of South Australia known as the Northern Territory will become subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth will be the supreme authority in that portion of Australia. I do not know by what straining of terms honorable senators can endeavour to persuade us that a Territory which appertains to internal Australian affairs ought to be administered by the Minister of External Affairs. If there be anything in the contention of the VicePresident of the Executive Council that the Department of Home Affairs is largely a Works Department, my reply is that in the near future the Northern Territory will be the theatre of the largest works expenditure that we have yet witnessed under the Commonwealth Government. Railways will have to be built there, and developmental works of various kinds’ undertaken. If the Department of Home Affairs is merely a Works Department, the Ministerial head of it will have a considerable share in the administration of the Territory. If Senator Needham has given notice of the amendment which he has outlined, I think that he ought to persist in it. If he will not do so, I will move it.
– I understand that Senator Stewart desires to move an amendment to leave out the word “ External,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Home.”In order that I shall not prevent the Committee from expressing an opinion upon thai proposal, I ask leave to amend my, amendment so that it will read -
That the words “ ‘ the Minister ‘ means the Minister of State for” be left out.
Amendment amended accordingly.
– If my amendment be carried, I shall then ask the Committee to delete the balance of the clause. But if honorable senators decide to retain the words which I have moved to eliminate, it will then be competent for them to entertain the proposal which has been outlined by Senator Stewart.
– - The opinion has already been expressed by a good many honorable senators that it would be unwise to tie the hands of the Government in this matter, seeing that at some future time they may wish to readjust their Ministerial duties. It appears to me that all the arguments which have been advanced in regard to the management of the Northern Territory really tend in the direction indicated by Senator E. J. Russell. In the absence of this clause the administration of the Northern Territory would automatically fall under the Department of External Affairs. It is ridiculous to suggest that legislation ought to be influenced by the consideration of whether some real or fancied slight may not be put upon a Minister. We are supposed to legislate to the best of our ability, and in accordance with our convictions. Consequently, we ought to determine the matters which are brought before us upon their merits. We ought not to be influenced by any other consideration. Whilst I am animated by the most cordial feelings towards the present Minister of External Affairs, I am disposed to vote for the amendment of Senator Millen, because it is a good policy not to pass any more laws than we absolutely require.
– - I appeal to the Committee not to make the proposed alteration. Obviously, if the amendment be merely a drafting amendment - and that is the plea which has been put forward - if it be opposed by the Minister who is in charge of the Bill, honorable senators ought to pause.
– He agreed to the amendment.
– I understand that he is opposed to it. The Minister in charge of the Bill is opposing the amendment on the advice of his draftsman. Surely honorable senators ought to accept that advice rather than the counsel of others who cannot be so fully in touch with the draftsmanship of the Bill as are the legal officers of the Department.
– That is a nice statement to make.
– I expressly limited my remarks to an amendment which is put forward as a drafting amendment.
– There is much more than draftsmanship involved.
– This Bill conforms to the practice which has been adopted by the Parliamentary Draftsman in Bills dealing with similar matters.
– Give us a case.
– The same practice was adopted in the Patents Bill, the Trade Marks and Designs Bill, the Navigation Bill, the Quarantine Bill, and the Lighthouses Bill. Indeed, in almost any Bill that the honorable senator chooses to look at, he will find that a similar practice is followed. Senator Millen’ has stated that if this definition be deleted the administration of the measure will come automatically under the Minister of External Affairs. It is quite accidental that under the regulations which were gazetted the administration of the Territories of the Commonwealth was put under that Minister. But if this definition be left out it will be quite competent for the Government from time to time to alter that arrangement as they think fit.
– That is just what we want to enable them to do.
– The mere designation “ Minister for External Affairs “ does not mean that certain matters shall come under his control. It is wise in this measure to decide which Department shall administer the Northern Territory. That course has been pursued in practically all the legislation which we have passed. Why should we begin to adopt a new system of drafting at this juncture? No reason has been given why a departure should be made, and I therefore appeal to the Committee to give to the Minister the benefit of any doubt they have.
– I think it is desirable to inform the Minister of Defence of that which he evidently is in ignorance. He has not been present during the whole of the discussion, and, therefore, it is necessary to inform him as to what transpired when the question was originally mooted. The Vice-President of the Executive Council agreed with me that if the clause were struck out the effect would be just the same as if it were retained, and he consented to its deletion. lt was not until Senator Gould pointed out that it was desirable to retain the portion defining “the Territory “ that Senator McGregor expressed a desire not to retain that portion only, but the whole clause.
– And he gave the reason why
– Yes. Senator McGregor stated that, in view of some criticism addressed to the Senate, the public might consider that the deletion of the definition was intended as a reflection on Mr. Batchelor. That line of argument was, . I think, too weak for serious consideration. Senator Pearce’s second objection is that this is merely a drafting amendment. I have a strong disinclination to see brought in as an argument anything which an officer may have said to a Minister. I have a strong objection to take any direction as to my legislative duties from a junior clerk in any Department.
– That is not the way in which it ought to be put.
– It is too often the case that a junior officer of a Department comes here, and not having knowledge enough or authority to break away from that which has been placed in his hands by his superior officer, he advises the Minister to stand by the Bill.
– It is just the contrary in this case.
– It is not an argument which ought to be addressed to the Chamber. This is something more than a drafting amendment, as Senator Pearce admitted unconsciously when he pointed out that if the definition were not retained it would leave the Ministry free to place the administration of the Act under another Department if they so desired. I contend that the most competent persons to adjust the Ministerial duties are Ministers themselves. No man can possibly know better how to apportion the work falling to Ministerial heads than those who have to do it. It is rather novel that the Opposition are seeking to give to the Government a liberty which they are trying to resist. It is generally the other way about.
– It is funny. Perhaps they suspect some gifts from the Greeks.
– I am rather inclined to think that in this case the Government are either too frightened of the draftsman to break away from the Bill, or afraid to accept this measure of liberty which a large section of the Committee is prepared to give. I ask honorable senators whether there is really any objection to our leaving Ministers themselves to say how they shall allocate the duties which they have to .discharge.
– We have said in this Bill how we think that the work ought to be apportioned.
– Let me draw attention to the curious position in which Ministers are. It is not very long since Senator McGregor was pleading that the Government had not decided the matter. He said that it was done by a proclamation issued in 1906.
– I never mentioned the word “ proclamation.” What I said was that it was arranged in December, 1906.
– If the honorable senator did not use the word, the proclamation is what he had in his mind.
– How was the arrangement made in 1906, except by proclamation ?
– It was made by the Deakin Government under an arrangement, and gazetted.
– It was settled by a proclamation sighed by Lord Northcote.
– I never mentioned the word “ proclamation.”
– I ask the Minister if there is any other authority ‘than a proclamation for apportioning the duties among Ministers?
– The honorable senator ought to have opposed it then.
– I am standing by the proclamation. The correct procedure is to leave Ministers perfect freedom to readjust their duties as circumstances may require. All I ask is that they shall be left with exactly the same power as they have always had.
– You are very belated in taking up that attitude.
– On this occasion I did not discover the point, but Senator Givens did.
– He did not discover anything of the kind. He discovered the Home Affairs Department.
– So far as I know Senator Givens started the discussion which caused a close examination of the clause to be made. I do not pretend to come here with a close knowledge of every clause.
– Do you wish to increase the power of Ministers at the expense of Parliament?
– That is rather a feeble interjection. The logical answer to the question would be to bring every Ministerial act under review here, but we do not do that for a moment.
– If you strike out the definition you will give them a larger field ot selection.
– It will leave the Ministry free to put the Northern Territory under the control of any Minister. If, however, the definition be retained, and it should be found later that another Department could more advantageously administer the Territory, no transfer can be made without a special Act. In the State domain we frequently hear of a re-adjustment of Ministerial duties. In the case of nearly every Government which has been formed in New South Wales during the last ten or fifteen years there has been a readjustment. I want to leave our Ministers free to re-adjust Ministerial duties from time to time. If, however, we enact in every Bill that it shall be administered by a particular Department, a re-arrangement cannot be made without the authority of another measure. Surely, when you trust Ministers with very much greater powers, individually and collectively, you might at least give them the power to re-adjust their Ministerial duties in a way which will work each Department to the utmost of its capacity, and to the best purpose of all. That is the sole object I had in proposing the amendment.
Senator NEEDHAM (Western Aus consider very carefully before it accepts the amendment. My object in opposing the clause was to secure that the Minister of Home Affairs should administer the Northern Territory. If the word “ Home “ had been used in place of the word “ External,” I should have had no comment to offer. Under Senator Millen’s amendment, any Minister might be called upon by the Government to administer that portion of Australia. I do not think it is wise to give that opportunity. It might be wise for the Committee to reject the amendment, and so enable Senator Stewart or myself to move the substitution of the word “ Home “ for the word “ External.”
– It might be necessary to place the administration of the Territory under the Treasurer’s Department.
– I do not think so. I have tried to view this matter impartially. I think that the wisest course is to set a good precedent in this provisional legislation by placing the administration of the Territory under the Home Affairs Department. I was with Senator Millen for a while in his effort to strike out the whole clause, but now I see where the danger comes in.
– Between the two of as the Government will ride to victory.
– To quote an old saying, “ Let God defend the right.” Surely the wisdom of the Committee will prevail. I shall vote against the amendment, because it would enable the Government of the day to put any Minister in charge of the Territory.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [5.27].- I ask honorable senators, first, whether we have a Statute defining the duties appertaining to each Minister? No. They have been settled by proclamation. At the inauguration of the Commonwealth the Government allotted the duties to be performed by each Minister, and a proclamation was accordingly published in the Gazette. The Government can at any time they see fit re-allot the duties of Ministers. Wort, for instance, which is now taken by the Minister of Home Affairs could be put under the Minister of External Affairs, or work which is under the latter Department might be put under the Treasurer, or work which is under the PostmasterGeneral might be put under another Minister. By an Executive act Ministers can vary the duties as they please, and the Ministry, collectively, are responsible to the Parliament for whatever work they do.
What does it matter to Parliament whether a work is done by one Minister or other so long as it is done properly and honestly ? If you tie the hands of Ministers, as proposed in this clause, they will have to ask Parliament to authorize any change of duties which they may desire to make. We shall go into recess in a week or two, and not meet again for months. During the recess there might be some reason for making a transfer of Ministerial duty in relation to the Northern Territory, but that could , not be done without special parliamentary authority. Surely honorable senators will see on consideration that it is only reasonable to leave in the hands of Ministers the freedom which they now possess. There is no reason why an exception should be made to the general rule in the case of this measure. In every State Parliament it is the practice to define “ the Minister “ as “ the Minister charged with the administration of this Act.” In other Acts it has been provided that the “ Minister “ shall mean such-and-such a Minister, or such Minister as may be determined by proclamation. Under the circumstances, it is far better to leave the matter open, instead of trying to tie a bit of unnecessary red-tape around Ministers, the only effect of which must be to hamper their operations.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Senator Needham) proposed -
That the word “External” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Home.”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 14
Question so resolved in the negative.
– As the Vice-President of the Executive Council is so obstinate as to refuse to accept what would be for the good of the Government, I now move -
That after the word “ Affairs “ the following words be inserted, “ or such other Minister as may be named by proclamation.”
All the argument has tended to show that the Government, out of sheer pigheadedness - if that be not an unparliamentary phrase - have so far refused to accept all amendments. If they will not accept common sense when it is offered, we must try to force it upon them.
– What Senator Rae now proposes is precisely what I asked the Committee to do some time ago, and what honorable senators refused to do.
– The Committee have divided on a proposition which, if carried, would have left the Government to determine under which Minister the Northern Territory should be placed. The Committee refused to accept that amendment, and Senator Rae now proposes another, which means exactly the same thing.
– My amendment is not out of order on that account.
– I am not saying that the amendment is out of order, but the Committee, having refused to do what I and Senator Rae believed to be the right thing, I doubt whether it is . now advisable to give it another chance.
– I think it is.
– If Senator Rae had had the experience in this Parliament that I have had, he would long ago have realized the danger of pursuing the practice of having changes of Ministers at frequent intervals. I can remember the time when, at the beginning of the month, one would find a particular Minister in the position of PostmasterGeneral, whilst at the end of the same month he had become Minister of Defence. That is the sort of thing that I have tried to assail and destroy. The amendment of Senator Needham, which I supported, would have been the first step towards doing away with practices of that kind.
– Not a bit of it.
– The amendment which I supported would have said distinctly - I wish Senator Henderson to grasp this point if he can - that the administration of the Northern Territory should be under the Minister of Home Affairs.
– Who might be John Smith at the beginning of the month and Bill Jones at the end of it.
– The honorable senator does not seem to be able to see the point. At present this particular Department, or any other Department, may be administered by one Minister to-day and within a week or a fortnight may be handed over to another. The objection that I have to that method of conducting business is that, no sooner does a Minister obtain a knowledge of his Department than he is transferred to another ; and when he gets a knowledge of his new Department he is again transferred. The result is that the administration of Departments continues to be controlled by the permanent officials. Honorable senators may desire to continue that state of affairs, but I do not.
– The amendment would not prevent it.
– It would put an end to that system. Senator Needham’ s amendment, if carried, would have laid it down distinctly and definitely in an Act of Parliament that the administration of the affairs of the Northern Territory shall be in the hands of the Minister of Home Affairs.
– Having done that, what is there to prevent the Government transferring the present Minister of Home Affairs to the Treasury Department?
– I suppose they could do that; but they could not transfer the affairs administered by one Department to another.
– The honorable senator’s argument was that, by the transfer of Ministers from one Department to another, they were unable to become familiar with the -affairs of any Department; but, under the amendment the honorable senator would support, it would be possible for Ministers to be transferred from one Department to another twice a week.
– I suppose that is so ; but 1 should like to put an end to that also. I think the amendment would have been a step in the right direction, and that is one reason why I do not intend to vote for Senator Rae’s amendment.
– The honorable senator would experience the novelty of voting with the Government if he did.
– It would be a novelty for me. I am not sure that I shall not vote with Senator Rae after all. The honorable senator’s amendment is sure to be defeated, and, somehow or other. I like to be on the losing side.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 - (1.) The Governor-General may appoint an Administrator for the Territory. The Administrator shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral by Commission under the seal of the Commonwealth, and shall hold office, subject to good behaviour, for five years. (2.) The Administrator shall exercise and perform all powers and functions that belong to his office according to the tenor of his Commission, and according to such instructions as are given to him by the Minister. (3.) The Governor-General may appoint, or may delegate to the Minister or the Administrator power to appoint, such officers as are necessary for the administration of the Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910 or this Act. or for the proper government of the Territory.
– I should like to know exactly what this clause means. In clauseii of the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill we provided that -
The Government Resident of the Northern Territory, and all officers in the Public Service of the State of South Australia whose salaries are paid out of moneys appropriated by the Parliament of that State for the service of the Northern Territory, shall, by virtue of this Act, be transferred to the Public Service of the Commonwealth.
Under clause 12 of that measure provision was made for preserving the rights of officers transferred. In the circumstances, I wish to know whether Mr. Mitchell, the present Government Resident of the Nortnern Territory, will automatically become the Administrator of the Northern Territory under this Bill?
– God forbid !
– We have provided, in clauseii of the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, that officers of the Northern Territory, upon its being taken over by the Commonwealth, shall be transferred to the Public Service of the Commonwealth.
– The word “ shall “ in that clause was left out, and the word “may” substituted for it.
– I wish to know what will be the position of men at present in the service of the State of South Australia when the Northern Territory is taken over. Is it the intention to sacrifice any of them and appoint other persons in their places, or will they be retained in the positions they at present occupy? The matter is a serious one for a man like Mr. Mitchell, who has been appointed for a certain term. If, by the passing of this measure, he may be deprived of the position he now holds, and, perhaps, lose his place in the Public Service altogether-
– Has the administration of the Territory so far been a success ?
– That is not the point.
– The honorable senator’s point is that, even if it has been a failure, the man responsible for the failure shall be continued in his office.
– There has been a number of Government Residents of the Northern Territory, and if its administration has been a failure, I do not know that we can lay it to the charge of any particular person who occupied that position.
– The Government Resident is appointed for a term.
– That is exactly the position of Mr. Mitchell at the present time. I wish to know whether, under this Bill, his term will be cut short, or whether he will be allowed to retain his office as Administrator until the end of his term? I hold no brief for Mr. Mitchell, or any other official in the Northern Territory ; but we have passed a measure preserving their rights on the transfer of the Territory to the Commonwealth, and no injustice should be done to any of them. Per- haps the Vice-President of the Executive Council will explain the effect of the clause ?
– An amendment was made in clause 11 of the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, substituting the word “may” for the word “ shall,” to bring it into conformity with the South Australian Act. This means that, on the transfer of the Territory to the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Government will have discretionary power in taking over the public officials in the Northern Territory. So far as Mr. Mitchell is concerned, he has been appointed by the South Australian Government for a term, and their action has been ratified by the Parliament of the State. His rights are to be preserved under the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill which we have passed. I can. assure Senator Vardon that the present Government will do all that lies in their power to advance the interests of the Northern Territory and of Australia, irrespective of the interests of any public officer. But I would also say that the rights of no officer in the Northern Territory will be sacrificed while the present Government are in power. Consequently, although we may later on think it well to appoint some other person as Administrator of the Northern Territory, the present Government Resident pf the Territory need be under no apprehension as to the treatment he will receive. The interests of Australia will be regarded before the interests of any officer, even though the Commonwealth or the State should have to sacrifice a little money to conserve them.
– - I am n°t particularly interested in preserving the positions and emoluments of some of the officers of the Northern Territory. When speaking a little time ago on this Bill, I pointed out that it makes no provision for anything in the nature of a Constitution for the Northern Territory. The Vice-President of the. Executive Council, in reply, said, and I did not dispute the fact, that I could not expect anything of that sort to be done in the few moments left to us of the present session. The honorable senator gave me to understand that this is to be regarded as a temporary measure; but, in this clause, I find that we are asked to appoint an Administrator of the Northern Territory for five years, and that if he behaves himself, he will retain that position for that term. In the measure dealing with the affairs of Papua, we provided for an Executive Council and a
Legislative Council, and a certain degree of local government for the white residents of that Territory. This clause reads - - (1.) The Governor-General may appoint an Administrator for the Territory.
– ‘ May.”
– Is it contended that this means that the Governor-General will not appoint an Administrator? If he does, the following words of the clause will have effect. They are -
The Administrator shall be appointed by the Governor-General by Commission under the seal of the Commonwealth, and shall hold office, subject to good behaviour, for five years. (2.) The Administrator shall exercise and perform all powers and functions that belong to his office according to the tenor of his Commission -
Not as it might be altered later on, unless that were done by an Act of Parliament - and according to such instructions as are given to him by the Minister. (3.) The Governor-General may appoint, or may delegate to the Minister or the Administrator power to appoint, such officers as are necessary for the administration of “the Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910 or this Act or for the proper government of the Territory.
I venture to say that this clause practically fixes the system on which the Northern Territory is to be administered for the next five years.
– Not necessarily.
– Of course the Minister says, “Not necessarily,” but, if so, why the reference to a term of five years ?
– Because we could not get a man worth anything to take the position for a less term.
– Am I then to understand that the Government expect a man to take the job for five years, and propose to cut him off in the middle of the term ?
– That is the only meaning that I can attach to the honorable senator’s interjection. I say that this provision will tie us down to a form ot government for the Northern Territory for five years.
– The honorable senator has only to look to the history of Papua to recognise the necessity of this provision.
– We passed a measure dealing with Papua some time ago, and it has not yet been altered. I say that the Government, in this clause, are laying down the principle upon which the
Territory is to be administered for the next five years. I am speaking in the interests of the Northern Territory, as well as in the interests of Australia generally, when I say that a greater degree of local self-government will be required in the Northern Territory than is being provided for. We were led to believe that this is merely a machinery Bill, but it appears that it is to decide the system of government for the next five years, unless the Government are prepared in the meantime to pension off the Administrator, or to buy him out of the billet it is proposed to offer him.
– I do not think there is anything in the honorable senator’s objection. It will not necessarily follow that this provision will determine the administration of the Northern Territory for five years. In all probability the development of the Territory will not be so rapid that we shall be unable for much more than five years to do without an official in the position of Administrator. The argument of the VicePresident of the Executive Council, that we could not obtain the services of a good man unless we offered him an appointment for a definite term, is a reasonable one. The Administrator is to carry on his work, not only according to the terms of his Commission, but “ according to such instructions as are given to him by the Minister.” That does not mean that all his instructions are to be given to him when he first takes up the duties of his office. The instructions to be given to him will vary in accordance with the legislation passed, and the decisions arrived at by the Parliament as to the proper government of the Territory. While in connexion with the previous clause I was anxious to vest the Government with more power, in connexion with this clause, it occurs to me that they ought rot to have so much power. Instead of the Administrator of the Northern Territory being appointed on the approval -of the Government, I think he should be appointed on the approval of Parliament.
– All officers are appointed subject to the approval of Parliament.
– But to impeach a Ministry before an appointment has been made is a very different matter from impeaching them after it has been made. I recollect that some years ago the claim was strongly urged by the Labour party that certain proposed appointments should be submitted to Parliament. In my judgment, we should make the clause as broad-based and democratic as possible by providing Lhat the Administrator shall be appointed on the recommendation of Parliament. To this end I suggest that after the word “may” the words “with the approval of Parliament “ be inserted. Parliament would hesitate very much to condemn a Ministry because it did not approve of the man who had been appointed to the office of Administrator. It would hesitate to cause such an officer to resign his position, notwithstanding that if it had been afforded an opportunity of doing so, it might have made a very different selection. Consequently, I suggest the insertion of the words which I have indicated. Parliament would then have an opportunity of considering who should be appointed to this important office, lt is a position which the occupant is likely to fulfil for a very much longer period than five years.
– The honorable senator might just as well move for the omission of the words “ Governor-General,” f=o as to make the clause provide that Parliament shall appoint the Administrator.
– But the appointment will be made, under Executive act.
– The honorable senator seeks to destroy Executive authority.
– I do not. We know that when a Ministry accept office, they are nominally appointed by the GovernorGeneral. If the party opposite me were in power, its leader would select his colleagues, and submit their names to the GovernorGeneral for his approval. It is true that the Governor-General might object to them, but as a matter of fact we know that he never does adopt that course. If the Labour party has a majority the whole of its members select the Ministry. Consequently, it is a complete farce to argue that the Governor-General has anything to do with the formation of a Ministry.
– But he has the power to discharge them to-morrow if he thinks fit to do so.
– [f he attempted to do anything of the kind, we know that he would very soon have to sail across the ocean.
– He has to act constitutionally all the time.
– Exactly. If we provide that the Administrator shall be appointed on the recommendation of Parlia- ment, the Ministry will not dare to advise the Governor-General in the matter, until their recommendation has been approved by the Legislature. I move -
That after the word “ may,” line 1, the words “with the approval of Parliament” be inserted.
– Throughout my life I have never entertained any serious objection to novel proposals, because they were always very interesting. But I notice that Senator Rae is full of them. He desires to conduct the government of the Commonwealth on uptodate and original lines. But if Parliament took the appointment of the Administrator into its own hands as he suggests, I would like to know what principles would guide it in determining the merits of the different applicants from whom a selection would have to be made? In the first place I presume that applications would have to be forwarded either to the President or Mr. Speaker, or to the Clerk of the Parliament. The credentials of all these applicants would have to be laid upon the table of the two Houses, so that its members might have access to them. After those credentials had been carefully read, we should have to resolve ourselves into a Committee for the purpose of selecting the most suitable man for the office. Parliament would probably appoint a Committee to make a recommendation. But under this clause the Minister will represent that Committee. Through the Governor-General, he will call for applications, and, after going thoroughly into the credentials of the various applicants, he will recommend that a certain man be appointed to the office. If the Ministry were to do anything shady in connexion with the appointment, Parliament would pounce upon them straight away. Hitherto, every officer of this description has been appointed by the Government, and I hope that practice will be observed in the future. The objection that the Administrator is to be appointed for five years, and that only a temporary form of government will be carried on in the Northern Territory during the whole of that term, is scarcely a reasonable one. Every honorable senator must know that as soon as possible a Constitution similar to that which has been granted to other Territories of the Commonwealth will be granted to the Northern Territory. But the Administrator, whoever he may be - and I hope that the best man will be appointed - will still be the head of the Executive, and the Executive will form a part of the constitutional government that we propose to grant to the Territory. Seeing that we require the services of an Administrator, is it not wise to straight away appoint the best man to that important position, and to begin to develop the Territory under his guidance and under that of Parliament as soon as possible? Then, when the time comes for us to grant a Constitution to the Territory, he will continue in office for the unexpired portion of his term. Indeed, if he be a good man, I hope that his services will be retained even after his full term has expired.
– I do not think that the VicePresident of the Executive Council ought to have been so severe on Senator Rae. I rather expected him to be in entire sympathy with the proposal of that honorable senator. The latter’s idea is that Parliament should be intrusted with the duty of selecting the gentleman who is to fill the high office of Administrator. The VicePresident of the Executive Council takes exception to that proposal. But there was a time when the Seriate was asked to vote upon a motion affirming that the Australian High Commissioner should be selected by this Parliament.
– Not with my concurrence.
– Does the VicePresident of the Executive Council recollect how he voted upon that occasion?
– 1 did not vote for the motion.
– The honorable gentleman did not vote against it.
– I may have been absent through illness. The honorable senator will recollect that I was absent for two or three months. But I was always opposed to that motion.
– Our party, as a whole, fathered it.
– And to the discredit of that party let it be said that the motion was aimed at a single individual.
– I do not think that the honorable senator has any right to say that.
– The statement was made at the time.
– The honorable senator cannot quote any statement in opposition to the selection of Sir George Reid.
– I am speaking of events which happened before the honorable senator was politically born. I am referring to the motion which was submitted in this Chamber by ex- Senator Higgs. Of course, I know - and the Committee know - what Senator Rae has in view. But the amendment which he has submitted may mean either one of three things. He proposes to make the clause read -
The Governor-General may, with the approval of Parliament, appoint an Administrator for the Territory.
In the first place, that may mean that Parliament may approve of the GovernorGeneral selecting any person that he may choose for the office. It may mean that the Governor-General may submit a name for parliamentary approval, and it may also mean that Parliament may submit a name for the approval of the GovernorGeneral. I am sure that Senator Rae does not aim at securing any one of these results. He desires that Parliament shall retain control of the appointment. But his amendment, as it is framed, would not achieve the object which he has in view. At the same time, I hope that the Committee will give that amendment a very short shrift. Hitherto we have attempted to preserve Ministerial responsibility. His amendment would absolutely destroy it.
– Ministers make all sorts of mistakes: In the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom.
– I am rather surprised at the statement of Senator Rae, because he must know what has happened in State Parliaments when they have attempted to fill much less important positions that that of Administrator of the Northern Territory. I cannot recall anything more discreditable than some of the attempts which have been made in State Parliaments to appoint certain members to Public Works Committees. As one who believes thoroughly in the principle of responsible government, I ask honorable senators to retain the clause as it stands rather than adopt the amendment. I think that there is a good deal more in the point which has been raised by Senator Chataway than appears to have arrested the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. This Bill is intended to be only a temporary measure. It is intended to do duty until a complete Bill for the administration of the Northern Territory is submitted for our consideration. Seeing that that is so, is it a business-like proceeding to take power under this Bill to appoint an Administrator of the Territory for five years? That officer, when once appointed, will have a legal right to - hold office for that term irrespective of what may happen in the immediate future. But the gentleman who might be selected today might not be the individual who would be selected when a Constitution for the Territory had been developed. At present, the administration of the Northern Territory, with a population of less than 1,500 Europeans, may appear to be a very small job.
– Does the honorable senator think that the population of the Territory will approach that of any existing State within five years?
– If it approaches even a percentage of the population of the smallest State, it will be entitled to self-government, and will not require the services of an Administrator. The Government propose to appoint a man to that office without knowing the nature of the Constitution which we are going to grant r.o the Territory. Until that Constitution has been framed, we cannot tell what duties he will be called upon to discharge.
– He will be like the Governor of a Crown Colony.
– No; because the Governor of a Crown Colony has a beaten track to follow. I think that the point which has been raised by Senator Chataway is well worthy of consideration. Would it not be better for the Territory, if, instead of immediately making a permanent appointment, the Government made a temporary arrangement - an arrangement under which, possibly, the present Government Resident might be continued in office, until we have finally drafted a Constitution for it? I urge the Government, in the interests of the Territory itself, to go slow, and to refrain from making a permanent appointment at this stage. It would be far better to make a temporary appointment or to continue the existing state of affairs until a Constitution for the Northern Territory has been drafted and approved by Parliament. Then we should be in a better position to invite applications from, those who are best qualified to discharge the duties of the office.
– This clause proposes to give permanency to the appointment of an Administrator, and sufficient reasons have not yet been advanced for making the office a permanent one. It is idle for the VicePresident of the Executive Council to say that Parliament has powers reserved to it, by which it may alter the conditions surrounding that appointment. I would invite the attention of the Committee to the important privileges which it is proposed to confer upon the Administrator. What was the Government doing a short time ago? It was fighting for the administration of the Northern Territory to be left in the hands of the Minister of External Affairs, because, under the Papua Act, the administration of Papua as a Territory had been intrusted to him.
– The conditions in the Northern Territory are entirely different. While for administrative purposes it might be left for the present under the Department which is administering Papua, there are reasons why we should hasten some portion of our legislation which cannot possibly apply to the case of Papua. For a long time to come Papua will be occupied by its own native people, and we want to keep them there if we can preserve them. But a diametrically different problem confronts us in the Northern Territory. The whole object, I take -it, is to make it rapidly a white man’s country. What has been the whole object of the political development of the States ? It has been to leave the government in the hands of their own people. We want to see the Northern Territory erected into a State as soon as possible and administered very largely by elected representatives, subject, of course, to our paramount authority.
– Five years is not a long period.
– It is too long in this case, and it is because of the length of the term and of the essential difference between the two problems that I plead for delay and caution. Questions of railway policy are bound to come up hereafter. At present we are dealing with the simple problem of administration. The success of the administration will depend, to a very large extent, upon the nature of the Constitution to be framed hereafter.
– On the ability of the Administrator.
– Yes, a great deal will depend upon the Administrator; but the Government might happen to appoint the wrong man. My particular objection to the clause is that an appointment’ for five years would place a large amount of power in the hands of a single individual. Apparently, the Government intend to rely more upon the personality of the Administrator than upon the inherent merits of the Constitution itself. Let me ask the Committee to consider the great privileges which this measure confers upon the Administrator. He is to be appointed by commission under the seal of the Commonwealth. Those who are familiar with the effect of such appointments know that once the Administrator has been placed in that position, under the seal of the Commonwealth, he will have tremendous powers over the Ministry who appointed him, and he cannot be easily controlled, unless he should happen to commit a flagrant offence.
– Will not his duties be clearly defined?
– I dare say that the duties of the Administrator will be laid down, but once the commission under the seal of the Commonwealth has been issued, who can check him in his administration? The commission itself cannot control him, and the only way in which he can be controlled is suggested by the words “ shall hold office, subject to good behaviour, for five years.” Except as regards a time limitation, his appointment is subject to the same conditions as is the appointment of a. lawyer to the Bench of the High Court. His appointment will be made, subject to good behaviour, for five years. During that period, he will exercise all the powers and functions which belong to his office, according to the tenor of his commission, and such instructions as are given to him by the Minister. It is almost impossible to conceive of wider powers being given to a single individual under a commission, than the Government will have given to this Administrator when they send him up to the Northern Territory with a commission under the seal of the Commonwealth. The Vice-President of the Executive Council admits that impliedly, because he says, and rightly says, that much will depend upon the character of the man. He urges us to give a discretion to the Executive because they want to get a good man. Inferentially, when he is obtained, he must be allowed a large, discretion in the exercise of his powers. Under sub-clause 3, the branch of the Public Service which will be required for the administration of the Northern Terri tory is to be largely in the hands of the
Administrator, who, if he is a capable man, will be stronger than the Executive itself.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– It is proposed to give the Administrator of the Northern Territory very large powers. He will enjoy those powers for a term which”, under the circumstances, is, in my opinion, far too long. The proposal seems to me to be in conflict with the policy of the Government. What is going to happen until the proclamation is issued? The white population of the Territory will be practically disfranchised. We do not desire to leave them in that position. How can we relieve them immediately ? We can only do so by framing a Constitution for the Territory. When we begin to consider that question, we shall, to use a common expression, be “up against” one of the most important constitutional issues that can be brought before us for solution. I suggest that the. clause should be made to read -
The Governor-General may appoint an Administrator for the Territory.- The Administrator shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral by Commission under the seal of the Commonwealth.
That would give the Executive complete control over the officer appointed. I propose to omit the words “ shall hold office subject to good behaviour for five years “ ; because, if those words are retained they will enable the Government to delay dealing finally with the government of the Territory for five years, and the official appointed will have a lien on his office for that term.
– How can we get a man worthy of the office unless we give him a five years’ tenure? Who would accept the appointment for less?
– When the Government make the appointment, then, it is intended that the Administrator shall hold it for a term of five years?
– I do not think that we ought to place ourselves in that position. The matter is too important to allow the Government to approach it from that stand-point. To do so may leave unsolved for a considerable period a grave constitutional question that it behoves us to settle as rapidly as possible. I do not want to secure permanency for a bureaucratic administration under a possibly bureaucratic Administrator.
– I do not know whether the honorable senator is aware that we already have an amendment before the Committee affecting an earlier portion of the clause.
– I shall have something more to say later on.
.- I move-
That the words “ and shall hold office subject to good behaviour for five years,” lines 5 and 6, be left out.
If my amendment be carried, it will leave the control over the Administrator absolutely in the hands of the Government subject to. parliamentary supervision. They will be able to remove him at once if he does not give satisfaction. If, on the other hand, he is found to be fit for his work, he can be continued in his office as long as the Government choose to allow him to remain there. I remind Ministers that under the Act providing for the administration of Papua it is laid down in section 11 that-
The Lieutenant-Governor shall be appointed by the Governor-General by Commission under the seal of the Commonwealth, and shall hold office during the pleasure of the GovernorGeneral.
The Government have been able to secure the services of an efficient Administrator on those terms. I do not desire to provide facilities for the Government to delay the opportunity which this Parliament should have of determining how the Northern Territory shall be governed. The interregnum between the taking over of the Territory and the adoption of a Constitution for it ought not to be longer than the necessities of the case require. My amendment would not weaken the hands of Parliament, but, on the contrary, would insure that we should have an early opportunity of dealing finally with the subject.
– I hope the amendment will not be carried. The object of inserting the five years’ term in this clause is for the purpose of enabling us to secure the services of the best man possible for the position of Administrator. It is true that the Lieutenant-Governor, of Papua is appointed during the Governor-General’s pleasure; hut does not Senator St. Ledger know that the term “during pleasure” invariably indicates a permanent appointment? The appointment in Papua may continue for ten, fifteen, or twenty years. There is no analogy between the two positions. The importance of giving a Constitution to the Northern Territory has been kept in view by the Government. Had it not been that the present session was so far advanced, the Constitution might have been adopted this year. We hope, however, to deal with the question next session. As far as relates to the disfranchisement of the electors resident in the Northern Territory, I may point out that there is no probability of an election taking place during the next twelve months. Even if there were an election, and there were a Constitution for the Territory, the residents would not have any vote for a representative, either in the Parliament of South Australia or in the Commonwealth Parliament. Under any Constitution which we grant, the residents will be in the same position as those in Papua. They will have an Executive Council composed of the Executive ‘officers and a certain number of persons elected by the residents. That, I assume, is what will really happen. I do not think that it would be wise to amend the clause as proposed, in view of the importance of endeavouring to get a good man to administer the Territory. There is no doubt that the Constitution will be passed during the life of this Parliament. In the meantime, the administration will proceed, and it is possible that when the Constitution is granted, the Administrator will be appointed Lieutenant-Governor, as in Papua. Seeing that this is a temporary Bill, and that the Government are endeavouring to do their best for the Northern Territory, I hope that the clause will be passed as it stands. At any rate, if we do not give the Administrator some security of tenure, we cannot hope to get a good man.
– Can the Minister give us a general idea as to what the emoluments of the Administrator will be?
– That has not teen decided yet.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 (Application of Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904- 1910).
. -I understand that the existing law will be continued in the Northern Territory, subject, of course, to any Ordinance that is passed by the Commonwealth Government, and submitted to this Parliament lor approval. I wish to know whether any
Commonwealth law will be subject to amendment by an Ordinance?
– No; certainly not.
– If the honorable senator will look at clause 13, he will find that it is provided that -
Until the Parliament makes other provision for the government of the Territory, the GovernorGeneral may make Ordinances having theforce of law in the Territory.
– Those Ordinances must be laid on (he table of the Senate, and may be disallowed.
– I understand that; but, according to my reading of the Bill, a Commonwealth law, in so far as it applies to the Northern Territory, may be subject to amendment by an Ordinance.
– That is not so.
– There is nothing in the Bill to show that it is not so ; and I should be very strongly opposed to any Act passed by the Commonwealth Parliament being amended or repealed except by this Parliament.
– It could not be done. The idea is ridiculous.
– We propose to alter State laws under this Bill ; and a law of the State of South Australia might be altered by an Ordinance.
– That is so ; but not a law of the Commonwealth.
– The Bill is silent as to the effect of an Ordinance upon the laws of the Commonwealth.
– Because it would be ridiculous to say that an Ordinance could affect a law of the Commonwealth.
– I take, for instance, the Copyright Act; and I contend that, under this Bill, it would be possible, by an Ordinance, to amend that Act,, in so far as it applies to the Northern Territory.
– Not at all. A law of the Commonwealth Parliament is superior to any other law in Australia.
– We are here making special provision for the government of the Northern Territory; and I remind honorable senators that in clause 7 of the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, we have provided that - (1.) All laws in force in the Northern Terri tory at the time of the acceptance shall continue in force, but may be altered or repealed by or under any law of the Commonwealth. (2.) Where, by any law of the Commonwealth in force in the Northern Territory at the time of the acceptance, any power or function is vested in any officer in relation to the State of South Australia, that power or function shall, in relation to the Northern Territory, be vested in and exercised or performed by such officer as the Governor-General directs. (3.) Where, by any law of the State of South Australia in force in the Northern Territory at the time of the acceptance, any power or function is vested in the Governor of the State of South Australia, or in the Governor of that State with the advice of his Executive Council, or in any authority of that State, that power or function, in relation to the Northern Territory, shall be vested in and exercised or performed by the Governor-General, or the GovernorGeneral in Council, or the authority exercising similar powers and functions under the Commonwealth, as the case requires, or as the Governor-General directs.
I take it that, since there is no provision in this Bill to the contrary, a Commonwealth law may be-amended by’ an Ordinance under this Bill, in so far as its application to the Northern Territory is concerned. The Minister says that that is not so, and I suppose I must rest satisfied with his statement; but I have pointed out how I read the provisions of this Bill. I admit that, under sub-clause 3 of clause 13, we provide that -
If either House of the Parliament passes a resolution of which notice has been given at any time within fifteen sitting days after any such Ordinance has been laid before the House, disallowing the Ordinance, the Ordinance shall thereupon cease to have effect.
But I contend that, immediately upon the rising of Parliament for the recess, it would be possible for the Executive to make an Ordinance under this Bill which might amend a Commonwealth law ; and it would remain in force unless it were disallowed under clause 13 by a motion carried in either House of this Parliament within fifteen days after it re-assembled at theclose of the recess. I should like to have a clear understanding of the matter, which I regard as of very great importance.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.22].- Clause5 makes provision that the laws of. the State of South Australia, which are applicable to the Northern Territory at the present time, shall continue to apply unless altered by an Ordinance made under this Bill. Then, in clauses 6, 7, 8, and 9, provision is made for the application in the Territory of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act, the Australian Industries Preservation Act, the Secret Commission Act, and the Lands Acquisition Act.
– But all Commonwealth Acts will apply in the Northern Territory, in the same way as they apply to other parts of Australia.
– The Postal Rates Bill is also to apply in the Northern Territory.
– I see that that is provided for under clause 10. If, as Senator Givens suggests, all Commonwealth Acts will apply in the Northern Territory, as in other parts of Australia, where is the necessity for these provisions for the application of the Acts I have mentioned?
– They are to be in substitution of laws of the State, of South Australia.
.- As I read the Bill, with the exception of the Commonwealth laws specially mentioned, Commonwealth legislation will not be applicable to the Territory, although it may be applied by a local Ordinance.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 -
The provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act 1906 shall apply to the acquisition by the Commonwealth, for any -public purpose, of any land owned in the Territory by any person :
Provided that, in determining the compensation to which the owner is entitled under that Act, the value of the land shall be taken not to exceed the unimproved value of the land, or the interest therein of the owner, at the date of the passing of this Act together with the value of the improvements on the land.
– I should like to know whether, under the proviso to this clause, the value of the improvements on land is to be taken as the value at the time of the passing of this measure, or at the time when the land is being resumed?
– I understand that Senator Millen intends to move two small amendments in this clause which the Government are prepared to accept. The object of the amendments is to clearly define the time at which! the value of improvements is to be fixed. It could not, of course, be taken to be the value at the time of the passing of the Bill, because that value might have entirely disappeared before it was proposed to acquire the land. I understand that Senator Millen has consulted with Mr. Garran, who agrees that the amendments he proposes would be an improvement on the clause. ,
– I move -
That after the word “of,” line n, the words *’ his interest in “ be inserted.
It is not necessary to enlarge upon the amendment. It is not the value of the improvements we propose to pay for, but the value of the owner’s interest in them.
– I understand that the Government intend to accept this amendment, but I fail to see how it will protect the public interest. I take it that it is intended to secure to the person from whom the land is acquired the value of his interest in the land or the improvements thereon. I should have thought that it would have been more fair to make some provision in respect of the value of the interest of the public in the improvements on the land.
– The question of land tenure in the Northern Territory has already been raised, and this Bill will apply to freehold, and also to leasehold, land. It is the interest in leasehold land and the interest in the improvements that we have to consider. The amendment is intended to make it clear that the value of the owner’s interest in the improvements will be taken into consideration at the time of the acquisition of the land. The improvements might be worth a great deal at the time of the passing of the Bill, and their value might have partially disappeared at the time the land was being acquired by the Commonwealth.
– Or there might have been improvements made after the passing of the Bill.
– That is so. The provision would cut both ways. Honorable senators must see that it is proposed to act fairly in the interests of the owner of the land, as well as in the interests of the people. It would be absurd to say that the Commonwealth should pay for improvements upon land at their value at the time of the passing of this Bill.
. - I have no desire to delay the passing of the Bill, but it occurs to me that, although an improvement may have cost a considerable sum, its value may not represent anything like that sum. A land-owner may have erected a costly building upon his land - a building which would be useless to the Government when it was acquired.
For example, he may build a highlyornamental mansion-
– Why should he not be paid its value?
– I am merely pointing out that the cost of an improvement does not necessarily represent its value.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.31),- If the Government see fit to resume land, the least they can do is to compensate the owner by giving him the value of the improvements which he has placed upon it. Surely they do not wish to rob him of what he has spent upon the land while it was his own, and while he was at liberty to do what he chose with it ! Even if he has erected the highly-ornamental building of which Senator Rae has spoken, he ought to be paid its value to him, irrespective of whether it represents a large or a small sum. That is a fair principle to apply, so far as compensation for improvements is concerned. But I would direct attention to the fact that, under this Bill, the Government will be able to say to a freeholder in twenty or thirty years’ time, “ We are going to resume your land, and we will compensate you for it by paying you an amount equal to its value twenty or thirty years ago.” As a matter of fact, its value twenty or thirty years hence may be considerably more than its value at Ihe present juncture. Surely we shall be going to extremes if we permit the Government to say to a land-owner, “ We intend to ante-date the value of your land for a term of years.” I would further remind honorable senators that if an owner wished lo sell his land in such circumstances, he would not be able to get for it more than it was worth to-day. I really think that some period should be specified within which it should be necessary for the Government to exercise their powers of resumption. I think that a term of two or three years should be fixed. However much we may believe in the principle of land nationalization, the rights of the individual must be considered. Consequently, some time limit should be imposed, within which it should be necessary for the Government to exercise their power to resume land at its value at the time of the passing of this Act.
– I wish to emphasize the point which has been raised by Senator Gould. This clause imposes no time limit within which the Government should exercise their power of resumption. ‘ It does not seem fair that, twenty or thirty years hence, they should be able to resume land at its value at the time of the passing of this Act. Certain land may be worth very little at the present moment. But if a man works it for twenty or thirty years, surely he has a right to its value at the time of its resumption.
– He will get the value which he has created - that is to say, the value of the improvements.
– The value of the improvements to the Government?
– No, their value to him.
– A man’s interest in land may be almost sentimental. It may be his home.
– There is not much sentimentality in j£ s. d.
– I would not like anybody to forcibly take my home from me. If, thirty years ago, I had built a home, I would not like the Government to come to me and say, “ We are going to take your land from you, and we intend to pay you its value thirty years ago.” That would not be just. Consequently, I think that some period ought to be fixed within which the Government should exercise its right of purchase.
– This is only a temporary measure, and the arrangement can be altered when the permanent measure is brought forward.
– But what we agree to now, will then be quoted as a precedent from which we ought not to depart. It is all very well to talk about the improvements upon land being community-created. But if a man holds land, and works it, he is entitled to something.
– Under this amendment he Will be compensated.
– No. We simply say to him that if the Government require his land for waterworks purposes, fifty years hence, they are at liberty to acquire it at its present value.
– A man may not be the original owner of the land.
– And the buyer may say that its unimproved value is represented by its unimproved - value ten years ago. ‘ I trust that the Government will agree to the insertion of a time limit in the clause.
– This clause merely gives effect to the principle which the Leader of the Opposition sought to have embodied in the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill. I would remind Senators Gould and Vardon that, upon that occasion, Senator Millen was rather annoyed, because a proposal toantedate the value of the land which may be acquired by the Government to the 1st July last, was not agreed to. The landsof the Northern Territory have a certain unimproved value to-day. Anything which may be added to the unimproved value of those lands during the next fifty years will be added to it by the public. Any value which may be given to those lands by reason of improvements made by the owners or occupiers will belong to the owners or occupiers. At whatever time the Government may acquire land in the Northern Territory, they are entitled to the benefit of the value which has been given to it by the people.
– And so is the owner, who is one of the people.
– As one of the taxpayers of Australia he will get his share of that value. But so far as improvements are concerned he will receive their value at the time of the acquisition of the land. When I was speaking previously I neglected to illustrate a little point for the benefit of Senator Rae, and other honorable senators who think with him. In connexion with the lands which are held under lease in the Northern Territory there is a condition that at the expiration of those leases the improvements will fall to the Government. But if this clause were permitted to stand in its present form, the occupier of those lands would get the value of the improvements. Senator Millen’s amendment will prevent that. Under it, the occupier will only receive his interest in the value of those improvements. But as he has agreed that the improvements shall fall to the Government, he will have no interest in them on the expiration of his term. In other words, he will have an interest in them only up to the termination of his lease. Consequently, honorable senators will see that the amendments proposed are fair, both to the owners and to the public. _
– There is scarcely room for debate upon this matter. The clause states that the Lands Acquisition Act shall determine the manner in which an owner shall be compensated for any land which may be resumed by the Government. Now that Act provides that -
In determining the compensation under this Act, regard shall be had (subject to this Act) to the following matters : -
Surely nothing can be fairer than that.
– But this provision will override that Act.
– No. It is strictly in accordance with the provision ia the Lands Acquisition Act.
– If that were so it would scarcely be inserted in the Bill.
– In my opinion, it is quite superfluous.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -Then, why not strike it out?
– The manner in which compensation shall be paid to landowners for any land which may be resumed by the Government is clearly laid down in the Lands Acquisition Act of 1906.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.44].- What Senator de Largie has quoted in regard to compensation for severance “is perfectly true. That applies, I presume, to any partial resumption which may take place, but the proviso to this clause overrides the Lands Acquisition Act so far as estimating the value is concerned.
– Under that Act an owner receives the value of his land as it exists at the date of resumption. But the proviso to this clause says that no greater value shall be attachable to the land than the value at the time when the Act was passed. If a property were resumed ten years hence, and it had been enhanced in value by 100 per cent, the Government would not be called upon to pay that enhancement, but only the value as ft existed at the date of the passing of the Act. The contention of Senator Vardon and myself is that there should be a limitation to that provision. Senator McGregor has asked, “ What can be fairer when you give an Owner the value of his land as it is to-day, and the value of the improvements as they exist at the date of resumption ? “ But that is very much like saying to an owner, “ 1 shall enter into an agreement to have the right to purchase your land at any timeI see fit at the value which it has to-day.”
He cannot dispose of his land at any greater value. The Government may never resume it, but by fixing the price in that way they debar the owner from improving his land. He will naturally say, “ What is the use of improving the land when I do not know whether they will ever resume it or not ? I have paid £1 or 10s. an acre for the land, and I know that no matter how much it may increase in value I shall not get 6tl. more for it.”
– If the Government should not resume the land would he not get the value of the improvements?
– By retaining the land the owner gets the increased value. Suppose that, the honorable senator and myself have a property each, and that the Government say to us, “ We may want to buy these estates within the next century, and, therefore, . we will now make a bargain with you that whenever we take them you shall each get the exact value of your estate as it is to-day, but, of course, we shall give you the value of the improvements.” Does not the honorable senator see that that will destroy to a great extent the selling value of the land?
– It only destroys the speculative value.
– How is the community-created value brought about? By the expenditure of money by Senator de Largie and myself on the properties, together with expenditure by other persons. We increase the value of the properties by our individual exertions, but under this provision each property will be valueless because there will be no use or market for it. You might just as well enact that the Government should have power to resume any land they may see fit in the Commonwealth, so long as they pay the value as it exists today.
– I wish they would. It would be absolutely fair.
– That would be absolutely unjust towards the community. It would be destructive of the value of property generally. It would be injurious to individual enterprise to enhance the value of lands.
– We have done that now with regard to the Federal Territory.
– Why? Because it has been generally assumed that the Government intend within a reasonable period to convert: all freehold land into Crown land. Every owner within the Federal Territory was prevented from selling his land to speculators for the purpose of working up big prices against the Commonwealth. But it has never been assumed that the Government are going to leave the freeholds in the hands of the present owners for the next half-century, and then resume them. The idea is that the Government shall acquire them as early as possible. If they intimate that as part of their policy they are going to resume all the land in the Northern Territory within a reasonable time, then there is some force in the argument that they should pay the present values, because they do not want to create speculative values. But where a bond fide value is given to a property by the work of the owner and by the people in the locality, surely it is not intended to hold that up against the individual for all time.
– Surely the honorable senator will admit that that portion of the value which was created by the other residents belongs to the public.
– I admit that each individual member of the community helped to create the value of the land. If every honorable senator owned a block of land in the city, and each improved his holding very highly, those lands would increase materially in value in consequence of the aggregation of people as well as the improvements we had made. We should have brought trade to the place, and by that means developed values. Surely that is not a reason why everything should be taken away from us by the State. Let me now go a step further. It has been pointed out that seventy or eighty years ago the land on which Melbourne stands was cut up into allotments and sold, and that allotments
Which then realized £10, .£20, £30, or £40, are worth as many thousand pounds to-day. Would it have been just for the Government at that time to have said, “We shall pass a law under which, while we sell these blocks at the present time, we shall have the right if this place should ever become a great city, to say to the owner of a block at any time, “ You gave £10 for this block; true, it is worth ,£100,000 today, but we are going to take it because we have that right. It was our property originally, and its present value has been given to it by the community generally.” Would not such a thing be looked upon as a monstrous injustice?
– This clause does not give any such power.
– It does. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that at Port Darwin there is a struggling town at present, and that, in consequence of the Government taking over the town and adopting “a vigorous policy to develop the whole of the Northern Territory, a large export and import trade should grow up in the town. A large number of persons would go there to reside, and by that means create, eventually, a great city, perhaps as great as Melbourne is to-day. The value of an allotment in Port Darwin to-day may be about £10 ; but twenty years hence it may be worth £10,000. Suppose that the Government should then come down and say, “ We intend to resume this land, and will only give you £10, because it is provided in a section of the Northern Territory (Administration) Act that - in determining the compensation to which the owner is entitled under that Act, the value of (he land shall be taken not to exceed .the unimproved value of the land, or the interest therein of the owner, at the date of the passing of this Act together with the value of the improvements on the land.
Would not honorable senators say that that would be an injustice? It would be an injustice to the individuals through whose enterprise and energy, and through the expenditure of whose money that value had been created.
– Public money?
– No; it would be their own money which had brought about the large import and export trade. Under this provision, honorable senators want to put the Government in a position to say to an owner that, no matter what value may be added to his land, it is all to be for the benefit of the Commonwealth.
– Of course, any value which he has not created rightly belongs to the Commonwealth Government.
– The value is created, not by the Government alone, but largely by individuals. Let me proceed a step further. In Victoria, we find two cities in close contiguity. At one time, it was thought that Geelong was going to be the great port and the chief city of Victoria. What has been its history? We find that, although Geelong started with .great hopes and aspirations, Melbourne was established, and has taken the trade and become the chief city of Victoria ; while Geelong, whatever its position may be to-day, is infinitely inferior, from the stand-point of land values, to Melbourne.
– Because there was not the same expenditure of public money at Geelong as at Melbourne.
– The two cities have enjoyed the advantage of the same government ; first, the government of New South Wales, and second, the government of Victoria. They have had exactly the same advantages in that regard.
– They have had the same general advantages from a settled form of government, and a proper system of administration. Both these cities having been established practically contemporaneously, one has forged ahead much more than has the other. Land in one has become of much more valuethan land in the other. The population in one has become much larger than that in the other. If you were to go to Geelong and buy half-an-acre of land in the middle of that city, the price you would pay would be infinitesimal compared with the price which you would pay for a similar area in Melbourne. We have got to a certain extent on exact lines.
– Not exact lines, when a ship cannot get into Corio Bay, owing to a sand-bar.
– An enormous sum has been spent in deepening and straightening the Yarra so as to make it navigable by larger ships than could enter it in its primitive state. But why have you spent all this money in different places? It may be that you have spent many thousand pounds more in Melbourne than in Geelong; but the population of the former has been very much larger than the population of the latter. If you take the population and ascertain how much . per head has been expended in Melbourne and Geelong respectively, you may find that there is not a very great difference. Then you want to see where lies the difference between the two great cities.
– The difference is that whereas Melbourne had fresh water Geelong had not.
.- It is not merely that. The population began to settle in one place because they thought it was a more suitable site for establishing a greatport than was the other. Having spent their money and enterprise in creating this place, would it be fair to enact that land may be resumed by the Government at cost price in 1840 in each case? That would be penalizing the men of enterprise who came to Melbourne in those early days. Honorable senators have tried to shelter themselves behind the statement that it is the community-created value which they seek to obtain. But that is not the case. It is not the State alone which has created the unearned increment. It has been due to the work of individuals in the city. If you want to make a place a great city, you ought to bear in mind that the land-owners are entitled to some of the value and some of the profits.
– And they are getting their share.
– If Port Darwin should ever become a great city like Melbourne, where land can be reckoned as worth £1,000 or . £1,500, or, in some of the more favoured places, £2,000 per foot, that result will not be due solely to the Commonwealth Government, but largely to individual enterprise and the expenditure of public money.
– To the collective enterprise, surely ?
– We are all joined together, and collectively we create the value. If I go to a place and spend my money in making improvements and bring trade to it, and another man goes to the place and follows my example, he gives me a bit of a lift just as I gave him a start in the first instance; and so it goes round. It is unfair to enact that the whole of that value shall pass into the hands of the Government.
– The Government are the community.
– Would the honorable senator justify the Government in resuming blocks of land which were sold at £10 or £20 each seventy years ago, and only paying that value for them, plus the value of the improvements ?
– That would be retrospective; but this Bill is not.
.- I know that.
– But if the Government made that proposal at the time the land was sold, it would be perfectly fair. It is a pity they did not.
– Where would have been the incentive then to men to push this place ahead? When the Government induced men to buy bits of land covered with scrub, and in a miserable-looking place into the bargain, why did they come here? Because they thought there was a possibility of creating a great city, and reaping some reward for their enterprise. As far as you take from an individual all the incentive to enterprise and the promise of reaping a reward, you will find that men of the type we desire to attract will not be ready to come here. Australia is not the whole world. There are plenty of other places to which men can go and spend their money with the expectation of securing the reward to which they are entitled.
– Is’ it not a fact that the reason why many men came to this country was that bad land laws drove them from their own country ?
– Many men came to this country in very poor circumstances ; but they were men of considerable grit, enterprise, and energy, and they saw a prospect of prospering in a new land. Why does any man go from one part of the world to another, except to better himself? When a man goes to a new country, he believes that there are opportunities there which he cannot find in his own country, and many a man who has been poor in the land of his birth has shown, under fresh circumstances, that he is capable of building up a considerable fortune. It is men of that character who have made Australia what she is to-day. It is not a fair thing to take away from individuals that incentive which induces them to better themselves, and at the same time to confer great advantages upon their country. It is not fair, in order to prevent the possibility of speculative values being placed on land, to say, “ We will take the right to resume this land at any time at its original value.” I do earnestly protest against legislation of this character, which will place obstacles in the way of energetic individuals deriving legitimate gain through the expenditure of their own enterprise and ability. If we are going to legislate on these lines, we might as well forthwith” pass a law saying that any lands in the Northern Territory may be resumed at any time at the value which they have to-day.
Senator NEEDHAM (Western Austra follow would be to strike out the proviso to the clause. We know perfectly well that there are men in the Northern Territory to-day owning land, not by the acre, but by the thousands of square miles.
– Not owning, leasing.
– I am speaking of the vast tracts of country that have been held by men who have paid no taxation. As far as compensation is concerned, I think it a very wild idea to give them any.
– They are entitled to compensation for the improvements they have effected.
– If we strike out the proviso, the Lands Acquisition Act will apply.
– The honorable senator will have the Opposition voting with him in favour of striking out the proviso.
– I cannot help it if the Opposition do vote with me. If the Lands Acquisition Act has worked fairly in other instances, it ought to work fairly in this.
– Does the honorable senator know anything about the Lands Acquisition Act? It would not do what he wants to have done.
– We want something better.
– I am always ready to obtain something better than we have at present, but I do not consider that the proviso effects an improvement, nor do I think that the amendment of Senator Millen would make it any better. I cannot see that any injustice will be inflicted by applying the Lands Acquisition Act in the Northern Territory, whether we base our re-purchases upon the improved or the unimproved value of the land.
– The Lands Acquisition Act could not apply for the next twenty years in the Northern Territory.
– We know that the Government intend at the earliest opportunity to develop the natural resources of the Territory. There has been no keener supporter of the proposal to take it over than I have been. I do not desire to see dilatory methods employed. I do not want to wait for twenty years.
– Does the honorable senator want to get for the community that which the community creates?
– I do.
– Then leave the Bill as it stands.
– I think the Bill would give us that opportunity if we struck out the proviso, which, in my view, is altogether unnecessary.
– The present generation of Australians are not so much concerned about who are going to own the land in the Northern Territory, but they are keenly concerned to know under what terms and conditions the Commonwealth is going to get possession of land that is held under leases which have forty-two years to run, and for which rents as low as1s., or even 6d., per square mile are being paid by large companies.
– All existing rights have to be respected.
– That is my difficulty. I am not so anxious to preserve those rights as Senator Gould is.
– We are bound to respect rights which exist under the law.
– I know that. But if we are to preserve the rights of those who hold land under leases running for the next forty-two years, it will be very difficult for the Commonwealth to develop the Northern Territory.
– We can resume.
– I wish to know the conditions under which we shall be allowed to resume.
– If a man makes a bad contract he has to abide by it. We knew the conditions existing when we took over the Territory.
– I do not desire to repudiate any existing agreement that has been made by the Government of South Australia. But if it be necessary for the successful development of the Territory - let us say under closer settlement - to resume land at present held by the cattle kings, have we power under this Bill, or any other existing legislation, to resume at a fair value, or must we pay the cattle kings just what they like to demand? I much admired the eloquent portions of Senator Gould’s speech where he laid it down that the added value of land was always created by individuals, and that it might be the same with land in the Northern Territory. He argued that some land there may in the future be worth £1,000 per foot. During a recent debate in this Chamber it fell to my lot to quote instances relating to the city of Melbourne. I showed that blocks in the city area have increased in value at the rate of £5,000 per annum since the first sales took place, whilst othershave increased at the rate of £2,000 and £3,000. Yet we are told that the Commonwealth is to take no steps to insure that the value created by the community in the Northern Territory shall be secured for the community. Surely there can be no injustice in making ‘it clear that, even, though we arc not prepared to acquire lands in the Northern Territory for the next tea or fifteen years, the present occupiers shall not be permitted to reap the advantage of public expenditure?
– We cannot prevent that.
– May I inquire at what rate the value of land at Port ‘ Darwin is increasing to-day? Senator Vardon knows as well as I do that land values there within the last twenty years have been decreasing instead of increasing. It has been generally recognised that the South Australian Government was not sufficiently powerful to deal effectively with the settlement problem in the Territory. I assume that we propose to spend large sums of money in the Northern Territory,- and within a short period the lands there will become considerably enhanced in value as a result of that expenditure.
– Not solely because of the expenditure, but also because of the people who would be induced to settle there.
– A second cause of the enhancement in the value of the land will be the introduction of population and the establishment of a settled community. Senator Gould is notso anxious to preserve the increase in the value of the land for the community as he is that it should be retained by the owners of it. We, as a party, stand for the right of the individuals forming the community as against the right of the individual. I support this clause, which I believe to be the best in the Bill. I should like to know what exactly will bethe position in regard to leaseholds. I think we should have a similar provisionsecuring for the community the enhanced value in the case of resumption of land held under leasehold, while at the same time preserving the legitimate rights of the individuals at present holding the land.
– Senator Needham expressed a desire to secure for the community as much as possible of the value which will be added to the lands of the Northern Territory when it is transferred to the Commonwealth ; but the honorable senator wished to strike out the provision which will afford the only means of accomplishing his object. This clause will absolutely safeguard the interests of every citizen of the Commonwealth in the communitycreated values of land in the Northern Territory. Senator Needham suggested that the provisions of this Bill are not sufficiently drastic, and he thinks that in the acquisition of land in the Northern Territory, we should take action under the provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act.
– Hear, hear.
– It is not often that we find Senators Vardon and Needham agreeing in a matter affecting the rights of the community. What does the Lands Acquisition Act provide for?
– All that is fair and reasonable.
– No doubt it does in the opinion of the honorable senator.
– And in the opinion of the Parliament that passed it.
– We shall see to what extent it may be regarded as fair and reasonable as applied to the acquisition of lands in the Northern Territory. Section 29 of the Lands Acquisition Act reads as follows - (1.) The value of any land acquired by compulsory process shall be assessed as follows : -
I presume that it is the desire of every member of the Committee that when the Northern Territory is taken over by the Commonwealth it shall be developed and peopled. Now, let us see what would occur if, say, in ten years time, the Lands Acquisition Act were applied to the acquisition of lands there. In that time the
Commonwealth will have expended large sums for developmental purposes, and in carrying out a policy which it is hoped will attract thousands of settlers. As a result, the lands will be considerably enhanced in value. Suppose, for instance, that land there now is worth £5 per acre, and that by the expenditure it may be of millions sterling, by the Commonwealth, and the introduction of thousands of people into the Territory, it may be worth £50 an acre ten years from now. If some honorable senators had their way the lands would then be acquired under the provisions of the Lands Acquisition Act, and the Commonwealth would be called upon under that Act to pay nol £5, but £50 an acre for them. The present Government do not desire to do anything of the kind. We desire to prevent speculation in the lands of the Northern Territory. We desire that they shall belong to the people of the Commonwealth ; and that the added value shall be retained for the benefit of those who are responsible for it.
– Why not take the lands from the present owners at once, and agree to pay a fair price for them within a limited period?
– Nothing will be taken from any citizen of the Commonwealth resident in the Northern Territory without giving him the full compensation to which he will be entitled. Senator E. J. Russell is exceedingly anxious to ascertain how the Government propose to deal with the enormous areas held under lease in the Northern Territory. Some of these leasehold areas range from 5,000 to 24,000 square miles in extent. I do not think there is a single large area in the Northern Territory held under feesimple. They are held on lease under an Act passed by the South Australian Parliament some years ago, in which very liberal conditions were embodied. The lands were offered on long terms, and it was provided that, if the South Australian Government desired to resume them for agricultural purposes, they might be resumed on compensation being paid to the leaseholders for improvements effected, and the payment to be made in respect of the foreclosure of the lease was to be settled by a reference to an Arbitration Court.
– A perfectly fair proposition.
– I contend that there is nothing unfair in the proposals embodied in this Bill. All that is proposed is that the enhanced value added to lands in the Northern Territory, as a result of Commonwealth expenditure, shall belong to those who created it. If such a provision were not embodied in this Bill, a gross injustice would be done, not merely to the residents of. the Northern Territory, but to all who are interested in the policy the Government desire to see carried out there. The principle underlying this clause is one which can be defended from any platform. Senator Gould, in making a comparison in regard to land values between Melbourne and Geelong, gave his whole case away, because it is as clear as the noonday sun that what creates land values is population, public effort, and public expenditure.
-And private effort and expenditure as well.
– The honorable senator reminded us of the value which would be added to land in the Northern Territory by the efforts of the neighbours cf persons holding that land. I couldnot help laughing at the statement. If the honorable senator would read a book entitled We of the Never Never, by Mrs. Gunn, he would discover how near to each other are some neighbours in the Northern Territory. Mrs. Gunn points out that one of her nearest neighbours resided 100 miles to the north of her, another 105 miles to the south, a third 90 miles to the east, and others about 200 miles to the west. I should like to ask Senator Gould how much he thinks the efforts of these neighbours of Mrs. Gunn added to the value of the land she held?
-If there were any value added to her land, how would it be added?
– By public expenditure.
-And by private enterprise.
– There will be little or no value added to the lands of the Northern Territory until the Commonwealth Government begins to expend Commonwealth money there.
– That will induce private people to do the same.
– All that we ask is that all citizens of the Northern Territory shall participate in the added values, which will be community-created values.
SenatorLt.-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - If we expended all the money in the Commonwealth Treasury in the Northern Territory, and no people went there, the land would be worth nothing.
– Is it not a silly thing to suggest, that we should exhaust the Commonwealth Treasury in developing the Northern Territory without seeing that any one went there? We might as well throw the money into the sea. I am sure that if Senator Needham were present he would withdraw his opposition to this clause, because, by amending it in the way suggested, he would, instead of advancing the principle he has always advocated, be playing into the hands of those who desire to secure for certain individuals the benefits which ought to go to the community at large.
– I wish to know why the Government should be placed in any better position than a private individual. There are men now in Port Darwin who have held land there for years. Suppose there should be some development there, and an increase of trade, as the result of our legislation, and that half-an-acre of land, which is now worth only £5 should, in ten years, become worth £50. The Government propose to say to the owner of the land, “ We want that half-acre to build a public office, and we will give you £5 for it, which was all it was worth ten years ago.” A private individual comes along, and says to the owner, “ I will give you £50 for that land, because it is worth it.” Why should the owner of the land be called upon to lose £45. What right have the Government to take for £5 land for which the owner could get £50 from a private individual ?
– Under the contract into which he has entered that is clear enough.
– He has not entered into any contract. The position is that he may have purchased his land years ago. It is his own. The certificate of title is in his name. He may have used the land so that in the course of ten years its value has increased considerably. A private individual may then say to him, “I am prepared to give you £50 for your block.” But the Government may step in and say, “ We intend to take it, but we will give you only £5 for it, because that represents its value ten years ago.” Would that be righteous ?
– The honorable senator knows very well that if this Bill be passed no man would offer£50 for such a block.
– That is the very reason why the proviso should not be inserted.
– As we do not know what land will be resumed, its speculative value will be destroyed.
– We hear a lot about the speculative value of land, but I have never known any honorable senator opposite who was prepared to give that value away. Under the law, a man may have acquired a piece of land-
– Subject to the laws of the country.
– Subject to the laws which then existed. Does the VicePresident of the Executive Council say that it is a righteous thing for the Government to come along ten years hence and to take out of that land the value which has been added to it ?
– The Government will not take any value out of it.
– It is not right to place the Government in a better position to acquire land at Port Darwin than that which is occupied by a private individual. If a private individual is prepared to give ten times as much as the Government for a block of land, we have no right to rob the land-owner of that advantage.
I am aware that there are leases in the Northern Territory which embrace large areas. But when South Australia passed the Act under which those leases are held, it had experienced a succession of droughts. As a matter of fact, a good deal of difficulty was experienced in getting the land taken up at all. It was owing to this circumstance that it was almost given away. But since then good seasons have been experienced. Large cattle-breeding stations have been established in the Northern Territory, and if the Government desire to resume any of these leases, the Act provides the way in which that can be done. I am sorry that these large leases should have such a long period to run. But they have not forty-two years to run, because that was the original tenure. The longest lease, I believe, has now only about thirtyfour years to run. But I would point out that the leases impose certain conditions, with which lessees must comply. Failing compliance with them, the Commonwealth can resume the lands comprised in these leases to-morrow. I am anxious to insure that, in passing a law of this description, we shall do only what is just . To say that the Commonwealth, fifty years hence, shall be able to acquire land for public purposes at its value today, is to suggest something which, to my mind, is outrageous.
– We have done the same thing in the Seat of Government Act.
– No. Under this. Bill we are asked to place the Government in a much more favorable position than that which is occupied by a private individual.
– It would be a pity if this discussion were allowed to close without a definite answer being given to the statements which have been made by certain honorable senators to the effect that the lands of the Northern Territory have been locked up by the cattle kings. I hold in my hand a copy of one of the pastoral leases in the Northern Territory which have a tenure of forty-two years. At the outset, I may say that the Territory comprises, roughly speaking, 335,000,000 acres, of which only 473,000 acres in fee-simple have been alienated. These figures evidence the extent to which the land-grabber has seized upon the Territory.
– Most of the land alienated is in the vicinity of Palmerston.
– No, it is situated on the banks of the Adelaide and Daley rivers. Many years ago the South Australian Government granted these areas to certain English capitalists for making a loan to it with which to develop the Northern Territory. At the end of 1906, 88,812,160 acres of land in the Northern Territory were held under pastoral lease with a tenure of forty-two years.
– That is an area larger than the whole of Victoria.
– That may be so. I am not a geographical expert like my honorable friend. It may be an area equal to that of Switzerland, Scotland, or France. But that circumstance does not help me in the slightest. Let us get at the figures. I do not care whether the area is equal to that which is embraced by Warrnambool or by the whole of Victoria. In 1906, the pastoral permits comprised 18,787,200 acres, and the areas held under annual pastoral lease aggregated 1,219,840 acres. The total area occupied at the end of 1906 was 108,878,712 acres, leaving unoccupied 227,000,000 acres. Yet we have been told that the land-grabber has locked up the lands of the Northern Territory so that nobody can acquire sufficient land there in which to bury himself.
– Nobody has said that. That statement is the product of the honorable senator’s own vivid imagination.
– I would refer my honorable friend to his recent journalistic convert - the Melbourne Age - and to the series of articles which it published on this subject in 1907. Those articles pointed out that the Northern Territory was locked up from settlement. What are the conditions which attach to these pastoral leases with a forty-two years’ tenure - these leases which do not embrace more than onefourth of the Territory ? In the first place, they provide that the lessee must stock his land and keep if stocked. Secondly, that he must destroy the vermin upon it. Further, he must not cut timber upon it ; he must not obstruct any mineral or timber lessee or licensee, and he has to pay his rent. If he does not fulfil these conditions the Crown may resume possession of his land. He is entitled to receive three months’ written notice of the intention of the Crown to resume it if it be required for mineral purposes, or for the purpose of a railway, or tramway, or any public work, or as the site of any cemetery, or public park. He is also entitled to two years’ notice if it be required for agricultural purposes. The leases further provide that the lessee shall not be entitled to any payment in respect of any improvements after the expiration of the first ten years of his tenure, unless he has the written sanction of the Minister to make further improvements upon the land. The obvious intention is that the lessee shall effect his improvements within ten years, and that if his land be resumed within that period he shall be compensated for them. But if it be not resumed within that, period he must not continue to make improvements so that the Crown would have to pay an enormous sum for them in case of resumption. The lease also contains the following proviso -
Provided that if it shall not be conveniently practicable to give such notice prior to making such improvements it shall be sufficient if such notice shall have been given with all reasonable despatch and the improvements be sanctioned under the hand of the Minister : Provided always that in computing the compensation to be paid for the loss of or depreciation in the value of this lease if the whole or any part of the said lands shall be resumed no increased value given to this lease by reason of any public works executed after the granting hereof or by reason of any improvements in respect of which the lessee shall be entitled to payment shall be included or taken into account.
So that, in the case of these leases, the community-created value would not be paid for by the Crown. I think that these conditions were well worth quoting as an answer to the statements made by Senator E. J. Russell in reference to cattle kings, and also to statements which have been made broadcast in many quarters that large areas in the Northern Territory are locked up from settlement. Under the Acts of 1899 and 1901 the leases can be resumed and put to closer settlement whenever the people are there and make a demand for land. I do not see why we should leave out the proviso. I believe that it would be a mistake to do so. I hope that the clause will pass with the amendment 1 have moved and the one which has been foreshadowed.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That the following words be added to the clause, “ at the date of the acquisition of the land.”
I think that the amendment requires no further explanation. It is perfectly obvious that if we are going to take the value of the owner’s interest in his improvements when we are compensating him, we do not want to take his interest to-day, as the clause now reads, but at the date when we actually acquire the land for a public purpose.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 10 agreed to.
Clause 11 -
No Crown lands in the Territory shall be sold or disposed of for any estate of freehold, except in pursuance of- some contract entered into before the commencement of this Act.
– I desire to know how the interests of the public will be safeguarded under the clause. I am very pleased indeed that it provides that no Crown lands shall be sold, but, as has been pointed out before, there may be an injustice done to the community even under a leasehold system. What safeguard is there against the granting of excessively long leases of some of the valuable lands which are left? Although any Ordinance for the disposal of land will have to be submitted to each House of this Parliament, yet we can easily understand that land might be disposed of under the Ordinance before it was submitted, and consequently it would be impossible to undo any mischief which might have been done thereunder. I should like to know in what way we are, not only’ to safeguard the community interest in the lands by preventing them from being sold in fee simple, but also to guard against unreasonably long leases being granted, as we are given to understand has been done in the past? The provisions in the Acts quoted by Senator Chataway seem to afford a fair opportunity to the Crown to resume a part or the whole of a lease in the public interest at a fair valuation. But I want to know what method the Government intend to adopt in order to insure that no unfair private Tights shall be built up under a leasehold system ?
– I am afraid that it is useless to attempt to negative the clause. But I think it right to draw attention to the fact that there is a very great difference as regards a leasehold tenure between a comparatively small Territory like the Federal Territory and a huge Territory like the Northern Territory.
– The principle is the same.
– I understand the principle, but I do not admit it to be universal. Do honorable senators expect persons to emigrate to a large Territory and spend their money unless they have a chance of acquiring a freehold? The other day a member of the Scottish Commission was asked his opinion as to the proposal in New South Wales to do away with freehold tenure after 1st January. He would not speak on behalf of the Commission, but he expressed his own opinion. He said he knew that one of the great attractions to those wishing to emigrate to Canada or to the United States or Australia was the hope of being able to have a freehold tenure. He thought that if New South Wales did away with it, it must not expect anything like the population which otherwise it might expect. I believe that it will be wise hereafter if a future Parliament adopts a different system from the one which is now advocated. I admit that if the Northern Territory were comparatively small there would be a great deal of force in a lease; hold system.
– How many farmers in Scotland own the freehold of their land?
– It is the very fact that they do not get a freehold which induces them to go where it can be obtained. I do not believe that there is a single honorable senator who would not prefer a freehold to a leasehold. I recognise that I have to submit to the inevitable because I am in a minority, but I still maintain that the circumstances of the Northern Territory are absolutely different from those of the Federal Territory.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [9.55].- Like Senator Walker, I realize that the feeling of the Senate at present is in favour of a clause of this character. I indorse what he said with regard to the desire of an individual to have a freehold, no matter whether it be large or small. The idea is strongly held by certain honorable senators that by granting long leases they will induce settlement. Some honorable senators approve of a ninety-nine years’ lease, while others even go to the extent of advocating a’ 999 years’ lease, with a periodical appraisement of rent. . A man does not regard a property which he holds under a tenure of that kind in the same light as he would if it v/ere his own freehold. If he has a freehold tenure the State can get as much revenue out of him by ordinary taxation as it could by means of a periodical appraisement of rent. In New Zealand they have tried the leasehold system, but they are finding out now that the lessees are anxious to convert the leaseholds into freeholds. So it will ever be.
– A man yearns to become a landlord.
– As you put men on the land, whether it be under a leasehold tenure or under any tenure less than a freehold, they will agitate, and when they get strong enough they will obtain a freehold tenure. I venture to predict that, although we may enact to-day that no land in the Northern Territory shall be sold, before twenty years have passed over our heads, probably within a much shorter period, the system of alienation will have been adopted if the Territory should succeed. Certainly it will be started in the towns, and thence it will gradually extend. In legislation, we have to bear in mind that a man desires to acquire a freehold if he is in a position to do so. In every great city you visit you find that if a man can manage to buy his little home he will do so.
– All these great cities were built up on leaseholds.
– On leaseholds from private individuals, and the lessees are desirous of having an opportunity to become freeholders. Whilst we cannot alter the clause we can point out the disadvantages which we think will accrue from its enactment, and the detriment it will be to the increase of settlement. Senator Walker has quoted the opinion of a member of the Scottish Commission inregard to freehold tenure, and I feel quite sure that the . history of the next few years will accentuate the correctness of his opinion.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 12 and 13 and title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
LAND TAX ASSESSMENT BILL.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message).
Clause 12 (Land exempted from tax).
Senate’s Amendment. - After paragraph 2 insert following new paragraph - “ 2A. A building owned and occupied by a masonic society or by a club or association of members of a trade or profession not carried on for pecuniary profit.”
House of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment agreed to with the following amendments - “ Omit ‘ masonic ‘ ; omit ‘or by a ‘ ; omit ‘ of members of a trade or profession.’ “
– I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
The principal object of the amendments is to make the new paragraph apply equally to lands on which buildings are erected for the purposes of any society, club, or association ‘ not carried on for pecuniary profit.
Motion agreed to.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
POSTAL RATES BILL.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator
Findley) read a first time.
Senate adjourned at 10.8 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 November 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1910/19101109_SENATE_4_59/>.