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Tuesday, 31 July 1906











I claim that these proposals are practicable, and that they are generous to the States. I submit that they are fair both to the States and to the Commonwealth, and that they are concisely put and easily understood. It will be noticed! that, although I propose that the scheme may be terminated upon the 31st December, 1920, there will be no occasion to bring it to an end unless Parliament decides to do so. It may continue indefinitely if it is regarded as suited to the circumstances. My reason for not making any proposal of a permanent character is that I do not believe' it possible at the present time to formulate a plan that would be acceptable for all time to both the Commonwealth and the States. The difficulties in the way at present are too great, and we are only beginning to think federally. I think, however, that bv the end of 1920, when we shall have had twenty years' experience of Federation, we shall be in a far better position to again deal with the matter, if it is considered necessary to do so. If we were to attempt to make a permanent arrangement now, it would no doubt be necessary to amend the Constitution, and there might be obstacles to our success in that direction. There is plenty of room for criticism and for differences of opinion in this matter, and all I desire is that those who do not agree with me will suggest some better scheme. The honorable member for Mernda has had several conversations with me upon this matter, but I am sorry to say we are not in accord. He has in preparation a scheme which I hope he will allow me to place upon the table of the House in a few days, in order that honorable members may give it their full consideration. I have not seen the final draft of it, but honorable members know the .reputation of the honorable member. He has had a long commercial experience, and I believe that his scheme - which I will not venture to criticise at the present moment - aims at securing finality immediately. I am sorry to. say that I do not think his desire can be attained. His proposals are much more ambitious one than the proposals I have submitted, and I am quite sure that it will receive from honorable members every consideration. I thank the honorable member for what he has done, and regret I do not aGree with his views. I wish that some other honorable members, possessed of similar knowledge and experience, would do the same. I submit my proposals with confidence, and in the hope that they will prove acceptable to the Governments of the States and the people of Australia. I suppose it is characteristic of me that, while I do not make up my mind in a moment, when once I have made it up I am not easily turned from mv resolve. Probably that is the reason why I am sometimes credited with being an autocrat.

Mr Carpenter - The States Treasurers will be opposed to the right honorable gentleman upon, his proposal to terminate the Braddon section of the Constitution.

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