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Wednesday, 9 November 1910
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Senator WALKER (New South Wales) - - The difficulties that have arisen might be overcome by inserting in the definition clause of the Bill words making clear what we mean by " External Affairs." I take it that "External Affairs," as we use the term, means the affairs of any portion of Australia that is not directly represented in the Federal Parliament. In that sense, the Northern Territory is external. T quite agree with Senator O' Keefe that too much responsibility has been thrust on the Minister of Home Affairs. But I differ from other honorable senators who have spoken in this respect. I am convinced that the present Minister of External Affairs is the best Minister in the Government to take charge of the Northern Territory. I have such a high regard for Mr. Batchelor that I believe we could not have a more capable administrator within the ranks of the present Government.

Senator Sayers - No "smoodging!"

Senator WALKER - I am not in the habit of "smoodging." I always state what I honestly believe, and' what I have said is my honest opinion. The point in the Bill to which I object is of a different character. I strongly object to the principle of disposing of Crown lands entirely on the leasehold system. If we wish the Northern Territory to go ahead, we must grant a freehold tenure to settlers. Otherwlse we shall not induce any number or persons to go up to develop the Territory. There is a good deal of reason for putting the Territory under the control of the Department of External Affairs; but I repeat ti at we should insert a definition to the effect that " External Affairs," as here used, means a portion of the Commonwealth not at present represented directly in the Commonwealth Parliament.

Senator HENDERSON(Western Australia) [3.38J. - The Bill before us is not very voluminous, but some excellent information has been laid before the Senate concerning it. Senator Stewart, for instance, has supplied us with information of which we were previously entirely ignorant. He has gone to the trouble of searching Webster's Dictionary, and finding out what the word "external" really means. We must be deeply indebted to any man who will take the trouble to do a thing like that ! Senator Walker desires to have a definition of the word inserted in the Bill. Certainly, he has departed from Webster's definition, as quoted by Senator Stewart. I do not think that those who have listened to the three Queensland senators who have favoured us with their opinions on this subject can seriously blame them for offering a bitter, callous, and uncompromising opposition to everything pertaining to the Northern Territory, except in so far as Queensland expects to derive benefits from it.

Senator Millen - Their opposition is as understandable as the honorable senator's support.

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