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Thursday, 6 May 1920


Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member may indicate his amendment, but I am afraid it will be necessary for him to get some other honorable member to move it, because after having spoken to the motion he cannot again rise and submit his amendment.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The amendment which I would submit is as follows : -

That all the words after " practicable " be left out with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the following: - "a referendum to alter the Commonwealth Constitution be held to provide full sovereign power under its Constitution and to empower the Commonwealth Parliament to create any number of provincial legislatures as may be necessary for the good government of the people."


Mr Mcwilliams - That is Unification, pure and simple.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member can call it what he likes, but we propose to follow the lines of the

South African scheme, and to make the Commonwealth Parliament supreme. The honorable member might just as well call the South African scheme a Unification.


Mr Atkinson - So it is.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is on the same lines as our. proposal; at- any rate, the South African Parliament is not hamstrung at every - turn as the Commonwealth Parliament is. To-day the honorable member for ' Adelaide (Mr. Blundell) spoke about the duplication of machinery in the building of soldiers' homes. It is not the only instance in which this duplication occurs. We have two taxing Departments, State and Federal. No intelligent people in any part of the world would continue in the way in which we manage our affairs, with so much duplication of machinery for administering them. The system proposed by the Labour party would end all this,

And would make the Commonwealth Parliament supreme. The central authorities would also have power to create any number of provinces as might be necessary for the good local government of the people. The honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Mcwilliams) would call it Unification, but it simply means that the National Parliament would do the work of the nation - much work of a truly national character which is now done by the State Parliaments would be the sole responsibility of this Parliament - and that there would be a .devolution of power from this body to local bodies for the exercise of control in local affairs. Such at scheme would give better local government and greater satisfaction to people in a local sense, and at the same time greater satisfaction to the people from a national point of view, because there would be only one Parliament dealing with national affairs. The Commonwealth Parliament would have the power to -grant to each province a uniform written constitution setting out the powers and duties of each local legislature, and, of course, such a constitution, could be amended from time to time as necessity arose. Honorable members may call our proposal Unification if they choose; it does not matter what name, they give it; the great outstanding feature of it is that the Commonwealth Parliament would have unfettered power to do things we have often tried to do, and have been pre- vented from doing, and to deal with questions of a national character, the responsibility for which at present is a doubtful matter as between the Commonwealth and the States. Perhaps the honorable member foi1 Ballarat would temporarily withdraw his amendment to give me the opportunity of moving mine.


Mr Kerby - I- shall be pleased to do so.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Mr PARKER MOLONEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I thank the honorable member for giving me the opportunity of moving my amendment. I move -

That all the words after "practicable" he left out with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the following: - "a referendum to alter the Commonwealth Constitution be held to provide full sovereign power under its Constitution, and to empower the Commonwealth Parliament to create any number of provincial legislatures as may be necessary for the good local government of the people."







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