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Wednesday, 26 November 1941


Mr SPEAKER - This is not an appropriate tune for a discussion on constitutional reform. The question is whether the payments provided for in the bill shall be made to the claimant States.


Mr ANTHONY - I have endeavoured to show that the very fact that those payments are to be made to those States in such a generous measure is a barrier to constitutional reform. I emphasize the necessity for such reform, even in the interests of the States to which the payments will be made, because, after all, our destiny is interwoven as Australians rather than as residents of States.

For the benefit of Australia it is necessary to have a system of government that will meet the changing needs of the times. We are living under an out-moded constitution. The Commonwealth Grants Commission has been set up merely as a means of solving many of the problems that have arisen under the Constitution. I do not intend to labour this matter further. My intention was to draw the attention of the Parliament to it. I may not have influenced the minds of some honorable members, but I may have provided a germ of thought for others. I do not expect any immediate change as a result of my remarks,yet members should have regard for the future interest of Australia, and give their attention to the matters to widen I have directed attention, because they will constitute major problems after the war. Under the present system of government we cannot have standard railway gauges as we desire them, and we cannot organize our transport services in the manner that is necessary. Nor can we provide for decentralization of the population and of industries, or develop our country districts to the best advantage, while hindrances are imposed by State boundaries and other constitutional limitations. I believe that all important powers should he transferred to the Commonwealth which could delegate back to the States their proper and limited functioning.

Sitting suspended from 1.2.2 to 12.30 a.m. Thursday.27November,1941.







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