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Wednesday, 9 November 1910
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Senator HENDERSON - My support may be easily understood. T have approached this question from the standpoint of a man who regards, not one portion, but the whole of Australia, as Australian.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator means Western Australian.

Senator HENDERSON - No I have a regard to the interests of all Australia in any action that I have taken in regard to the measure before us. I have considered it and discussed it entirely from the point of view of its national importance. As far as concerns the accusations that have been made against the Minister - Mr. Batchelor - I desire to say that, as a senator, I regard them as contemptible.

The PRESIDENT - Order ! The honorable senator is not in order in using language of that kind regarding statements made by other honorable senators.

Senator HENDERSON - I withdraw the word " contemptible," and will say that the statements made in respect to the character of the Minister who will have charge of this Territory, because he happens to represent an electorate in an adjoining State are, to say the very least of it, statements that ought not to have been uttered by men of intelligence. What would be thought of any senator who rose in his place and said that the Treasurer of the Commonwealth was unfitted to handle the finances because he happened to represent Wide Bay, and. therefore, might handle- the national funds in such a way as to shovel out a surplus for the advantage of his own State in preference to other States ? Surely we have not reached a stage in our national history when it is necessary to suspect a Minister of wishing to control affairs in the interest of his own electorate or State rather than in the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole. If that kind of thing is to be permitted, I am under the impression that our debates will soon drop to a very low and scandalous level. The three senators from Queensland who have spoken have endeavoured to show how logical it will be to place the Northern Territory under the control of the Minister of External Affairs. I, however, accept the position as laid down by Senator O'Keefe. The reasons that he gave appeal to me, as they must, I think, have appealed to other honorable senators who know anything about the Commonwealth Departments. If the arguments of the three Queensland senators are to have weight, the Government might take into consideration the aadvisableness of economizing by placing under the Minister o£ Home Affairs the control of all Departments affecting matters within the Commonwealth. That, indeed, would be the logical position for our Queensland friends to take up. If honorable senators contend that because the Northern Territory is a part of the Commonwealth it should be administered by the Minister of Home Affairs, and not by the Minister of External Affairs, they might just as reasonably contend that post-offices, defence matters, and Customs, which all deal with internal affairs, should be administered by the Home Affairs Department, and not by the Departments which at present have charge of them. To be logical, they should contend that all our Departments should be divided between two Ministers, the Minister of Home Affairs, and the Minister of External Affairs. The only reason why representatives of Queensland object to the administration of the Northern Territory being placed in the hands of Mr. Batchelor, or any other Minister of External Affairs, is that they are absolutely opposed, from a Queensland stand-point, to the Commonwealth having anything to do with the Northern Territory at all.

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