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Thursday, 19 November 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - I shall not delay the Senate long; but as I opposed a previous bill for a referendum, I now rise to indicate that I shall support this bill which also contemplates an appeal to the electors by means of a referendum. It would have been better had a convention been called in order to decide that the control of aviation was a proper power to vest in the Commonwealth, and that recommendations to that effect had emerged from it, for, in that event, the Commonwealth could have acted without doubt, and there would not have been need for a long and learned judgment to settle the matter. However, we must take things as they are. In my opinion, every honorable senator should support this bill if only on the ground that it is plain commonsense to do so. No State can possibly control air navigation or aircraft; only the Commonwealth can do so. I was pleased to notice that, as soon as the Henry case was decided, the Premier of South Australia, Mr. Butler, favored control being vested in the Commonwealth. As I am not always in accord with the views of Mr. Butler, _ it is with pleasure that I find myself in agreement with him on this* occasion, and not only with him but also with the Commonwealth Government and the

Opposition in the Senate. I compliment Senator Hardy on a speech which was most interesting and informative. Honorable senators who did not hear all of it would do well to read it in Hansard. Some of the points raised by the honorable senator, particularly those which had reference to the proper department to control civil aviation and aircraft, and some of the data quoted by him, were new to me.

It will be interesting to watch the effect of these two referenda on each other. Obviously, the proposal contained in this bill will have strong support throughout the country, and, therefore, it will, to some extent, improve the chances of the other proposal being carried. Conversely, it is possible that the limelight will be concentrated on the marketing proposal; and it may be that, if the people reject it, this proposal also will be rejected. The rejection of this proposal would be a calamity, and for that reason the Government would have been wise had it made some other arrangement with regard to marketing difficulties and submitted this proposal only by referendum to the people, for I have no doubt that in that ©vent, it would have been carried. I hope that it will be carried in any case.

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