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Friday, 20 July 1906

Mr DEAKIN (Ballarat) (Minister of External Affairs) . - In reply to the honorable member for Barker. I desire to say that I have no more been guilty of flouting the proposal to construct a line from Oodnadatta to 'Pine Creek than I have of speaking disrespectfully of the equator. I should be equally sorry to take either course. Neither have I been guided in any remarks that I have made - as Mr. Solomon indicates - by any influence brought to bear from Western Australia or any other State. The proposal which the honorable member for Coolgardie submitted, and to which the honorable member for Wentworth has referred, is in the nature of a counter proposal preliminary to the consideration of the terms upon which the transfer of the Territory should be effected.

Mr Fowler - The two railway proposals are not necessarily hostile.

Sir Langdon Bonython - Certainly not.

Mr DEAKIN - Not in the least. One railway would go north, and the other west, so that it cannot reasonably be urged that they are in antagonism. The honorable member for Barker also inquired if any further negotiations were proceeding. Within the last day or two I have received an answer from the South Australian Government to my previous communication. My. reply to that is now on its way to Adelaide. Upon Tuesday next I shall be able to lay the correspondence on the table of the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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