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Thursday, 4 April 1946

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - So long as it does not put me in the same category as the honorable member who has interjected I shall be happy. The second point is the Minister's statement that an alteration of the Constitution was necessary before certain things could be done in the Northern Territory. I inform the Minister, and he can verify this statement by reference to the AttorneyGeneral (Dr. Evatt), that the Parliament of the Commonwealth exercises complete constitutional powers in respect of the Northern Territory. There is nothing that this Parliament wants to do in the Northern Territory that it cannot do. In respect of the Northern Territory it can fix hours of labour, grant social service benefits, pay child endowment and grant benefits to university students.

Mr Johnson - Why did not antiLabour governments take advantage of those powers in pre-war years?

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - I have not been Minister for the Interior, although I have been a member of governments. There are certain things that the Government has done in the Northern Territory to which I object.- One of them was the acquisition last year of lands in Darwin. During the last referendum campaign, I used the argument, whenever I spoke in South Australia, that in the Northern Territory the Commonwealth exercised unlimited constitutional powers, and yet that was the worst governed 'area in the Commonwealth. I leave the matter there.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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